When you’ve seen the Taj Mahal, what do you do for the rest of the day in Agra? Are the kids fed up with forts and temples and markets? Why don’t you try Agra’s lesser-known but rare and uplifting sight, the Agra Bear Rescue Facility (ABRF), a visit to which can be expertly arranged by ReadyClickAndGo on one of their Private Day Trips.
This 70-acre sanctuary, about 10 miles from the Taj Mahal, has been caring for many of India’s rescued ‘dancing’ bears for nearly a decade, rehabilitating and providing a safe haven for over 500 sloth bears who have been rescued from a life of cruelty and neglect as ‘entertainment’ for locals and tourists alike. Although the sanctuary rescued the last dancing bear a couple of years ago, the threat of poaching and smuggling cubs for bile production and bear-baiting remains severe. There are around 300 bears at ABRF now and several cubs, living in family-sized groups in large, shady enclosures with trees, climbing frames, toys and pools, enjoying air-conditioned quarantine and veterinarian facilities, funded by the Indian charity Wildlife SOS and the UK’s International Animal Rescue – the latter organisation is sent a team of expert ophthalmic surgeons out to Agra in May 2011 to operate on several of the bears who have lost their sight. Permission to visit ABRF has to be sought beforehand, and visitors are met by armed guards and forms to fill in, but the doctor arrives to greet you and show you around, explaining the work and history of the sanctuary, and if you wish, will play a short film about it too, although some scenes in it are distressing but you will see only happy and healthy animals in the flesh. The whole experience is incredibly heartening, and will enthral children especially. You can also sponsor one of the bears here, and of course, donate to this very worthy cause.
ReadyClickAndGo organises private day trips, sightseeing tours and excursions in India, including a tour that combines the Taj Mahal and the Agra Bear Rescue Facility. This full-day excursion with your own guide, driver and car, entrance fees to sights, plus the Fort and the ‘baby taj’, and permission to visit ABRF, costs £52.50 per person, based on 2 people. More details are available here
ReadyClickAndGo’s wide range of private day trips, sightseeing tours and excursions elsewhere in Asia: China, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia and Singapore as well as in Eastern Europe can be found here www.ReadyClickAndgo.com