As many of you know, in our work to solve the ‘dancing bear problem in India, we worked with the Kalandar people to find alternative livelihoods, one that did not include exploiting animals. In many cases we were able to employ some of the Kalandar people to work at various tasks at our rescue facilities. We would like to introduce you to one of our team members, Manoj Kalandar, who has come from a Kalandar community that used to dance bears. He has worked for us for 6 years and has been a very dedicated and important member of our staff.
Prior to coming to work for Wildlife SOS, Manoj said that nobody worked in his community. His family of 12 was dependent on the income they raised from their two ‘dancing bears’ Rozie and Shankar. Rozie currently lives at the Agra Bear Rescue Center and Shankar has passed away.
Now that Manoj works for Wildlife SOS, he feels that he has employment that he can be proud of. He is working in the bear kitchen now preparing meals for the bears that are housed at the Agra Bear Rescue Facility. He has a lot of pride in the hard work that he is doing now and says that the people back home treat his family better now that they are not dancing the bears.
Wildlife SOS is pleased to have Manoj as a staff person and happy that he has learned to have a different appreciation for wildlife that he can share with his community.