Sloth bears, also known as dancing bears have been among the most horribly abused animals on earth. Exploited for their ability to perform and earn money for their handlers, they have been forced into a life of torture to make them submit and dance on their hind legs. They avoid beatings and earn food rewards in a tragically painful life of slavery. A nomadic people in India had engaged in this practice for many decades, taking the bears as cubs and breaking their teeth to render them defenseless. They used a hot poker to pierce the snout and insert a rope through the hole. The rope was used to inflict pain and force the bear to stand on its hind legs, performing a dance that appeared to be motivated by treats, not pain. Unwitting tourists paid to see the performances, not realizing what the bears had been subjected to in order to make them so compliant. But rescue organizations such as Wildlife SOS in Agra, India, campaigned for laws to make this practice illegal. They provided homes for the bears where they could be free of pain and abuse. Provided with proper care, nutrition and space to roam, the bears thrive. Allowed to interact socially with other bears, they even learned to play, such as these two sloth bears have. In addition, WildlifeSOS has provided training and employment for the people who once knew no other way to provide for their families. Now, instead of exploiting the bears, they seek other forms of employment. This important step breaks the cycle of abuse and also provides a living for people who once lacked the skills to survive in other jobs. WildlifeSOS is home to many elephants, sloth bears and other creatures who have finally found joy and peace. Please consider visiting their website wildlifesos.org to find out how you can help these beautiful animals and the people who have given them a second chance at life.