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Last Updated: Friday, 24 December, 2004, 08:29 GMT
Workers rescue zoo's sloth bears
Sloth bear
The animals were suffering more in the zoo, the charity said
Two endangered sloth bears have been rescued from a zoo in India by an animal charity based in East Sussex.

The former "dancing bears" were taken to a zoo, but handlers did not know how to look after them, campaigners said.

"Dancing bears" are kept in pain with ropes attached to their noses and are made to perform for tourists.

Alan Knight, of Uckfield-based International Animal Rescue, said the three-year-old male and five-year-old female are now in a sanctuary in Agra.

Sloth bear
Very quickly, these animals transformed into what they should be, which is happier animals
Alan Knight
The charity said the bears had been suffering more at the hands of the zoo owners than during their time as "dancing bears".

Mr Knight said: "When the zoo took them in, they didn't really know what to do with them and the handlers were not used to handling bears.

"Bears can be quite boisterous and they didn't really want to get in there with them, so we arranged for one of our vets and one of our handlers to fly down from Agra.

"Very quickly, these animals transformed into what they should be, which is happier animals."

The charity estimates there are about 1,200 "dancing" bears in India.

Mission to save performing bears
04 Nov 04 |  Southern Counties
Bear sanctuary given cash boost
29 Jul 04 |  Southern Counties
Hope for India's dancing bears
21 Jan 03 |  Science/Nature

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