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Balkasar open for bears: Pakistan’s new WSPA-funded bear sanctuary
The sanctuary will also provide a refuge for the remaining 60-70 Asian black bears in Pakistan who are still being used in bear baiting, a cruel and illegal blood sport. Balkasar Sanctuary sits away from flood plains and close to the country’s capital, Islamabad. Its opening demonstrates the dedication and commitment of the BRC and Kund Park staff who - despite losing their homes and possessions, like so many Pakistanis - have remained committed to the cause. Many of the staff members and their families have even moved to Balkasar to rebuild their lives, as well as the lives of the bears in their care. Those bears will be brought to the Balkasar Sanctuary to live out their lives in a natural and peaceful environment.

Listen to an interview with WSPA's bear expert!
Listen to an interview with WSPA's bear expert! Listen as renowned international bear expert and WSPA Wildlife Advisor Victor Watkins discusses his unique and exciting work rescuing bears around the world. Watkins discussed his and WSPA's work to rescue bears from cruelty and exploitation, as well as the welfare needs still facing bears today. Watkins also talked about WSPA's continuing work to bring an end to some of the cruelest practices on earth including bear baiting, bear farming, and the exploitation of captive bears for entertainment purposes. This is a great chance for supporters who are unable to attend Watkins' United States speaking tour to hear our bear expert live!

WSPA moves new resident to bear sanctuary
The villagers who discovered the bear could trace no signs of its mother and they captured it with a view to sell it in the local market. Maylu was handed to local wildlife officials by the army, and the wildlife department did their best to care for the distressed bear. Talks began at the wildlife department of moving Maylu to a zoo – at this point WSPA heard about Maylu and quickly set the wheels in motion to receive the bear into the renowned Kund Park Bear Sanctuary. Following examination by WSPA veterinary staff the wildlife officials released the bear into WSPA custody and plans were laid to move the bear to Kund Park near the Peshawar region of Pakistan.

Three surviving bears rescued from Pakistan floods
Residents of the villages surrounding the Kund Park sanctuary spotted these bears and alerted BRC staff to their presence. Despite the inaccessible roads and vague information on the location of the bears, staff from BRC bravely ventured into the flooded areas in search of these bears. Once they located the bears, they managed to tranquillize each bear and move it into a transport cage. Once sedated and in the transport cages, the bears – accompanied by a BRC veterinarian – were transported to Balkasar on trucks. The Balkasar sanctuary is still very much under construction, as it was designed to house bears that are yet to be rescued as part of WSPA and BRC’s continuing campaign against bear baiting.

More good news for Vietnam's bears
After lengthy consultation with WSPA, the Vietnamese Government has introduced improved legislation for the protection and management of captive bears in Vietnam. This is a great sign that the government is sticking to its commitment to phase out bear bile farms in Vietnam and ensure that no more bears are introduced into this cruel industry. In a landmark agreement last year, the government of Vietnam signed a Memorandum of Understanding with WSPA and began to gradually phase out bear bile farming in their country. The new regulations aim to further protect Vietnam‘s national bear population from rampant hunting for their galls and other organs.

Bears escape cruel ‘dancing’ destiny
Four sloth bears, including a cub, were rescued from a life spent ‘dancing’ by authorities in Nepal last week, acting on information provided by WSPA member society the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI). The three adult bears had been trained to dance and were destined to be sold to Kalandars – nomadic bear owners – in India. This illegal cross-border wildlife trade in poached bears sells the animals into a lifetime of suffering, as they are forced into unnatural behaviors, become ill from poor diets, and often develop repetitive behaviors that indicate mental trauma. WTI and WSPA initiated the Integrated Sloth Bear Conservation and Welfare Project in 2005 to work towards the holistic conservation of sloth bears in India, by providing alternative livelihoods for Kalandars and ensuring that the bears do not endure a life of suffering.

Local networking saves bears from cruel contest
WSPA member society the Bioresource Research Centre Pakistan (PBRC) prevented a bear baiting event in February 2008, saving two bears from multiple violent attacks by powerful dogs. WSPA and PBRC’s local networking program enabled them to enlist support against the powerful landlords who arranged the event. Landlords stand to make large profits from bets placed on the bloody contests, despite this cruelty being illegal in Pakistan and contrary to religious teachings. The landlords own only the dogs used in baiting events, so Saad appealed directly to the bear owners. The two bears which seemed destined to suffer ripped muzzles and multiple wounds are now settling into a new life the Kund Park Bear Sanctuary.

Bear park visitors unaware of cruelty
A recent poll of visitors to Japan's bear parks stated that they were unaware of how the bears suffered, and that they would not have visited if they had been aware. The bears are normally kept in concrete pits, which are approximately the size of a basketball court. WSPA is working to educate the public and change how they percieve bear parks, with the ultimate goal of closing the parks. Last year WSPA was involved in making a cinema advert in Japan which exposed the true horror of the parks. With your generosity we can continue to educate the Japanese public and pressure the government to increase the legislation that currently exists to protect animals.

Bear cub rescued by Tennessee Member Society
ABR is a unique black bear rehabilitation facility located in the Smokey Mountains that has been rescuing and releasing bears for over a decade. Lisa wrote to WSPA to let us know about their latest bear cub and his journey to recovery at ABR. The other day he bit me and huffed at me, but the bite was not as bad as that of a mosquito and the "huff" was more like a tiny sneeze. It breaks my heart to know that there are so many more out there that we haven't found yet, and I wish we could help them all.

Romania’s 52nd bear is rescued
They have safely moved him to the Zarnesti bear sanctuary, where he will now live alongside five other young bears. Brought to the guesthouse by local forestry workers, the bear – who is about one year old and called Tello – was kept in a 13x13-foot metal cage. A member of the public spotted and reported Tello’s captivity and a team comprised of the police, Fagaras County’s Association of Hunters and Fishermen and staff from the Zarnesti bear sanctuary organized his safe rescue. The pubic, authorities and media are now helping to ensure our message gets through to those people who may have previously considered keeping a bear.

Support the Bear Protection Act
The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which provides protections to all eight species of bears, has noted that the illegal trade in bear bile poses a significant threat to global bear populations and recommends that countries party to the pass domestic law to end the bear parts trade. The lack of uniform federal legislation specifically banning interstate trade in bear parts makes proper enforcement difficult and fosters illegal poaching and trade. Bear bile is used in traditional Asian medicine to treat a variety of disorders from liver and eye conditions to hemorrhoids and inflammation, as well as included in some shampoos and cosmetics. Bear farming started in China in the 1980s with the intent to reduce pressure on wild bear populations, however wild bears continue to suffer.

Korea displays commitment to end bear farming
The approval of this proposal is a compelling sign that the Korean government recognizes the need to end bear farming. Green Korea United and WSPA aim to work with officials from the Ministry of Environment to ensure the research project obtains all the evidence needed and that the research phase is completed as quickly as possible. A logical next step to this proposal would be to establish a ban on captive breeding of bears, meaning that no new bears will be born into a life of suffering on Korean bear farms. WSPA would like to see this happen as soon as possible and we hope to work with government officials for this.

A new bear at Balkasar
Just a few weeks ago, Chowti, an Asiatic black bear, was tied up and attacked by dogs who bit and mauled her while people watched for entertainment. The six-year-old bear suffered her last bear baiting event just hours before she was rescued and brought to Balkasar sanctuary last week. Because she is blind, Chowti won’t be able to see the daylight when the shutters go up in the quarantine area – she’ll have to rely on her senses of smell and touch to find her way out. As for Fida Hussain, he will have to find a new way to support himself – alone.

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