Bear of the Month: Titli

October 31, 2019 | By wildlife@dmin

If Agra Bear Rescue Facility’s enclosure 14 could share tales of Titli’s exploits, we’d all have a story worthy of books. Titli shares her enclosure with three close friends – Valmiki, Gambhir and Digit. The wholesome foursome paints quite a picture of entertainment for keepers, but Titli remains a bit of a recluse. The eternally mysterious, brooding enigma still gives her keepers new things to discover.

Titli means a butterfly in Hindi. True to her name, after a long recovery period, Titli has bloomed into a beautiful bear.

Nine years old, Titli is a teenager at heart. She is prone to tantrums spells to get her way, and is obscenely triumphant when she succeeds. Over the last 8 years, Titli has become extremely fond of her keeper. She loves his attention and often demands to accompany him around during his daily rounds. You can almost hear her say, “I demand attention, and I will have it.” After all, the heart wants what it wants!

Little Titli shares a special relationship with her keeper.

Titli requires calm handling. She is still trying to become comfortable with human interaction because she used to be a ‘dancing bear’ – an old and barbaric practice employed by nomadic tribes where bears were made to perform tricks as a form of entertainment.

Titli used to be a ‘dancing bear’ before her rescue. She was poached as a baby and sold to a Kalandar family.

Titli soon found out that her desperate trials to achieve freedom would be met with painful beatings and starvation. The coarse rope that passed through her pierced muzzle would be harshly tugged at by her Kalandar masters to make it look like she was ‘dancing’ while in reality, she was writhing in agony. She was not provided with any treatment for her infected muzzle wound which had gradually led to several health issues. However, her indomitable spirit beat every odd and emerged a strong, healthy and beautiful soul, forged in the fires of pain.

At the time of her rescue, Titli was around 8 months old and had only known a life of agony and fear. She had never felt a kind touch, and she had never been allowed to experience a natural life in the wild. This is often the reason why Titli has to be handled with care – she still remembers the trauma she faced as a cub and distrusts humans. She was also very slow, in the beginning, to make friends with the other bears and her keepers. It took years of gentle nudging to turn Titli into the vivacious little troublemaker she is!

After 8 long years, Titli is now a vivacious young bear who loves her enrichments and playthings.

True to her name though, once she blossomed like a butterfly, everyone at the Agra Bear Rescue Facility was in for a treat. A happy, active and healthy furball, nobody loves watermelon or honey-log enrichments more than her. She rockets around her enclosure when it’s feeding time, demanding that she be attended to, immediately! She also loves scaling trees and has access to her own pool, where she often displays her part-mermaid love for the water. According to our veterinarians, her vaccinations have been on time, and she is one of the healthiest bears at the center!

Naughty little Titli likes spending time by herself and scaring others for a laugh.

Titli is shy and quiet by nature. She is most comfortable with her own company and loves playing pranks on visitors by giving them a good scare if they come too close to the enclosure. One of her major demands is that she be fed alone because she does not share food. 🙂

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