Alternative livelihood program aims at providing alternate descent living to the bear owners instead of using their bears for baiting or dancing to earn their living.
The need of the time was to attack the root cause of the problem. Gypsies basically lead a nomadic lifestyle, so it is difficult for them to settle down at one place and maintain a business or any other livelihood, as it is against their nature.The gypsies are engaged in this activity mainly because they have inherited this habit from their forefathers.
BRC designed a team for landlord networking, and alternative livelihood project, which has been trained to convince, and to provide guidance to such people for adopting and maintaining a suitable livelihood. BRC carries out regular surveys for baiting/dancing bears, in the remote areas of Sindh and Punjab.
The data base generated through these surveys is then used by the networking, livelihood team.
The team then tracks down the bear owners and convince them against this brutal sport as convincing also involves religious lobbying of these owners. Mean while the team also communicates with influential personalities of those areas, for their assistance in this task. Followed by this, the gypsies are being offered suitable livelihood after evaluating their potential and considering previous work experiences, in exchange of which the bears in their captivity are being rescued.
The rescued bears are then shifted to Kund Bear Sanctuary; where appropriate protocols are being followed that include their medical examination and treatment of their wounds, which they receive during their brutal battle with the terriers at the village fairs. Later on the bears are released into the quarantines, where they live a healthy life.
So far BRC has been successful in reducing the number of bear owners in Sindh and Punjab. In order to achieve this target, we organized the awareness stalls, improved our rescue facilities, involved the influential’s, and are maintaining strong data base of the bear owners. BRC has managed to rescue 13 bears from Sindh and Punjab, two of them from northern areas, by successful confiscations, or rescues from the potential bear owners.
Our future goals are
- To carry out a detailed nation wide survey to identify the kalandar settlements.
- To collect a detailed data on family size, population size, occupations other than dancing bears health status of the bears.
- Also to further collect data on rehabilitation status of the kalandars, and the number of bears still being used in events.
- To further improve the rescue facilities capacity and potential rescues.
- To provide education incentives or possibilities for their kids.
- Also to carry out properly designed gypsy training workshops.