What this tour is about: Wildlife SOS is an animal welfare non-profit organization, set up to protect Indian wildlife. They rescue abused animals, rehabilitate them, and where possible, release them back into the wild.
They have two rehabilitation facilities near Agra: the Bear Rescue Facility which is the world’s largest rescue centre for sloth bears; and the Elephant Conservation and Care Center which rescues and rehabilitates abused captive elephants. They are about 30 minutes apart.
Bear Rescue Facility: The Bear Rescue Facility houses over 200 sloth bears. Most of them were previously used as “dancing bears” for entertainment – a painful and traumatic practice. This is one of India’s biggest rehabilitation success stories; and has gone a long way towards ending the “dancing bear” trade. Wildlife SOS simultaneously works to re-skill and built alternative livelihoods for the kalandar community, who used to earn a living through dancing bears.
During your visit you can take a guided tour of the facility, and understand the slow but rewarding process of rehabilitation. Experience the unique world of the sloth bears as they play, forage, climb trees, dig in the ground, and interact with the bear keepers. They are very charming! You can watch a documentary on dancing bears, and also visit the kitchen where their food is prepared.
Elephant Conservation and Care Centre: The elephant centre houses elephants who are finally enjoying a lifetime of love, after being rescued from harsh work environments. They receive nutritious diets and professional veterinary care. Wildlife SOS is campaigning against the capture, training and use of elephants for tourism, temple festivals, begging, performing on streets, or the logging industry.
Talk a guided walk to see daily life at the centre, and watch the elephants relaxing and playing. Listen to the stories of how the elephants arrived there, and the challenges of looking after these gentle giants. There is also a documentary about the ongoing efforts to stop animal abuse.
How it works:
Wildlife SOS is between Delhi and Agra. You can choose to visit one or both centres. Timings will vary accordingly. An indicative schedule from Agra is below.
07:30am - Pickup from Agra
09:00am to 10:30am - Visit Bear Rescue Centre
10:30 to 11:00am – Transfer to Elephant Conservation and Care Centre
11:00 to 1:00pm – Visit the Elephant Centre
01:00 to 2:30pm – Return to Agra
An afternoon trip is also possible.
Duration: 5-7 hours depending on whether you visit one centre or both.
When: All days of the week; by prior booking
Start point: Your hotel in Agra
End point: Your hotel in Agra (or we can drop you to Delhi)
Coverage: Bear Centre and/or Elephant Centre