“The widespread poaching of bear cubs and the killing of mother bears clearly affects the population of the species,” Menon said.
“India is changing rapidly and this is an outmoded, inhumane tradition. The trainers themselves realize now that it is far easier for them to earn a living doing other jobs,” Menon said.
Aziz Khan is another former bear owner who never expected to leave his ancestral trade, but was happy for the way out offered by WTI when officers approached him and his friends more than a decade ago.
WTI helped retrain Aziz Khan and his friends as bakers. They now run their own bakery.
“I have no regrets today, it was a dead-end job and I am glad I was able to move on,” he said.