Bear baiting and dancing bears

The problem

  • In rural Pakistan, weakened bears are dragged into a baiting arena, tied up and set upon by trained fighting dogs, in front of a paying crowd.
  • Many cubs captured for baiting are also used as ‘dancing’ bears – enduring repeated physical and psychological torture, for the sake of entertainment.

The solution

  • Through education, rescue work and collaboration with the Pakistani government, we will stamp out bear baiting and dancing for good.

What we're doing

  • Reducing the number of bear baiting events to an all-time low by lobbying for legislation, working with wildlife officials and BRC, sharing intelligence and pressing for enforcement, working with schools, religious leaders
  • Investigating cruelty and arranging the rescue of bears
  • Giving a safe new home to surrendered bears at the World Animal Protection-funded sanctuary
  • Providing alternative, cruelty-free livelihoods for bear owners

Help us rescue the last remaining bears tortured in baiting and dancing

Behind every dancing bear is a story of unthinkable violence and suffering. 

Bear baiting is one of the cruellest blood sports in the world. 

We need your support to stamp out this torture, once and for all.

We estimate that around 90 bears are still in urgent need of rescue in this region. A donation from you could help World Animal Protection give them new lives, far away from the fear and violence they’ve always known.



A brutal blood sport

Hundreds of people watch as a terrified bear is dragged into an arena, by a coarse rope through a painful hole in her sensitive muzzle. The rope is tied to a post so she can’t run away. 

The game begins

Trained fighting dogs – the other victims of this cruel sport, groomed to be extremely aggressive – are unleashed upon the bear. Her claws and teeth have already been removed – an agonising mutilation for which anaesthetic is rarely used. She can’t defend herself properly and will tire and weaken as the dogs rip into her flesh.

Saved to fight again

The fight stops before the bear is too badly injured to survive – there’s no profit to be had from a dead bear. She will fight again, and again.

Teaching a bear cub to dance

Bear dancing may look like entertainment – but in fact it’s one of the cruellest forms of animal abuse we know of. As a bear hops from side to side in time to music, he is acting out a response conditioned into him by torture. The usual way to train a cub is to set them on a hot sheet of metal while music plays. The sensitive pads of their paws are repeatedly burned, and they hop from one foot to another in agony. They are subjected to this torture until their traumatised response becomes automatic – they will sway and hop whenever music plays.

New lives for abused bears

Although illegal in Pakistan, bear baiting events are still being held. At World Animal Protection we are committed to permanently ending bear baiting and dancing.

Together with our partner organisation the Bioresource Research Centre (BRC), we arrange the surrender of baiting bears, and bring them to the World Animal Protection-funded sanctuary. Here they can live the rest of their days free from pain and violence.

With your help, World Animal Protection and BRC have rescued 86 bears since our work together began. We have investigated and stopped many bear baiting events, and are constantly on the lookout for others. We are also improving enforcement laws and pushing for stronger legislation to protect bears in Pakistan. Every owner who commits to our alternative livelihood program signs an agreement never to own another bear – protecting ever more wild cubs from a future of violence.

We’re getting closer to ending these cruel traditions. But there is still so much to be done.

Please support us – a gift from you could help us bring the last suffering bears to the sanctuary. It could bring us closer to our ultimate goal: to stamp out bear baiting and dancing for good.

Dogs attack during a bear baiting event, Pakistan

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