11th February, 2016 marked the second edition of the Wildlife SOS Webinar, where our co-founders Kartick Satyanarayan and Geeta Seshamani shared the story of their successful journey towards eradicating the “dancing bear” practise in India.
The webinar set an ideal opportunity for us to help spread the word about conservation awareness and wildlife rescue as well as for our supporters from across the world to have an interactive session with our co-founders. Over 500 people were in attendance, all of whom shared a common love for the fantastic beings that are a part of our world. They listened on with great interest and were quite eager to have their queries answered at the end of the session.
The main objective of this webinar was to spread awareness about the dancing bear practise, how the organization managed to abolish this cruel practise and how it is critical to continue to work towards protecting wild sloth bears that are a constant target of human exploitation. Our co-founders talked about how for nearly 400 years, the Kalandar community have been ‘dancing’ sloth bears for a living and how, the ‘dancing’ bear trade transitioned to become entertainment for villagers and tourists who paid to watch the bears jump in agony.
Kartick and Geeta realised that due to extreme conditions of poverty and lack of education, these people had no alternative means of earning a livelihood and were wholly dependent on their bears. The answer therefore, lied in rehabilitation of the Kalandar communities through education and an alternative livelihood program as an extension of the dancing bear rescue project. By empowering the men and women to earn incomes and improve their living standards, they had shown their commitment to providing them a life of quality. The results were phenomenal as over time, the Kalandars started to voluntarily surrender their bears and choose a more sustainable future. They concluded by taking about the struggles that they faced post rescuing the sloth bears, the process of getting them assimilated into a new life as free independent bears and the continuing efforts to protect them.
The session was soon open to a series of concerns and queries that our co-founders were more than happy to answer. The webinar was quite a success in terms of the wonderful audience who were listening intently to what our co-founders had to say and understand what our organization stood for. We truly enjoyed hosting this session and look forward to having further interactions with our awesome supporters.
In case you missed this one, you can listen to a recording by following this link.
Stay updated on our activities by following our Facebook page, we’ll make sure to post an announcement whenever we do another Webinar or something similar, so you can tune in next time and get candid with the people saving your favourite bears!