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“Visiting & Volunteering here will open your heart & eyes!”

Wildlife SOS Elephant & Bear Sanctuary
Ranked #4 of 108 things to do in Agra
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Wildlife SOS - Agra Bear Rescue Facility is a home to 200 rescued dancing bears. Forest Department Admission fees: 500/- Foreigner 50/- Indian.(Only 10 minutes tour by security) DOES NOT GO FOR BEARS BUT GOVERNMENT. Guided Tour - 1500/- per person information & interaction with WSOS staff and guided 90 minutes tour. Wildlife SOS - Elephant Conservation & Care Centre is a home to 21 rescued circus & begging elephants. Guided Tour - 1500/- per person information & interaction with WSOS staff and guided 90 minutes tour.
Reviewed November 29, 2013

We spent two weeks volunteering in Agra in November 2013 at Agra Bear Rescue Facility & Elephant Haven.
I cannot speak highly enough of the people that work here or the work that they are doing. For a short distance from the Taj Mahal it would be a must to add into your itinerary if you have a few hours or better yet volunteer there for as little as a week.
You can contact them on the phone prior to coming if you are going out for the day ( they speak english!) & they will arrange to meet you at the gates and show you around and tell you about the sanctuary and the animals.
The work that is being done for the rescued bears in admirable and a pleasure to see after learning about the hideous things that these bears have gone through in their lives prior, they live happy lives with large space & enrichments and amazing veterinary care. The keepers there truly care about the animals and love their jobs.
The Elephants at Elephant Haven are truly so well cared for, they are completely off chain, walk for 4 hours a day outside the facility, they socialise with each other, play in the river and are so happy despite their past before their rescues ( each of them has a sad and different story). it is such a pleasure to be able to spend time with them, after a while you get to know each of their personalities & love them even more!
This organisation has such a pragmatic approach in that they know the solution is two fold & consider the poorer communities where these animals have come from in their overall rehabilitation plan.
You should be aware that although there is an entrance fee this is set by the forest dept & none of this goes to the charity or the animals - you can donate there or sponsor an animal or they have a great gift ship on site where i just bought all of my christmas presents! Please condsider a donation no matter how small when you are there for this reason, what may be small to you means alot to them.

5  Thank kirsty024_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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633 - 637 of 688 reviews

Reviewed November 15, 2013

We spent a magical day being guided through the operations of this amazing facility. It is a short taxi ride from Agra but give yourself lots of time once you get there and bring lots of fruit for the elephants. I highly recommend that you call or email SOS to arrange for a private tour before you head to the sanctuary (info@wildlifesos.org or 91 975 6205080). Lunch can be arranged as part of the tour as well. The forest department requires a fee for foreigners to pass the gate and add fees for cars etc. It is handy to have a contact with SOS that is expecting you and can meet you at the front gate. None of the fees paid at the gate go to supporting the programs for SOS so don't forget to bring additional donations for the programs. They put tremendous effort into the facility and their work and the funds are desperately needed.

Wildlife SOS is quite an inspiration only established in 1995 and having accomplished so much since then with such limited resources. The conservation program at the Agra Bear Rescue Facility is best known for their work rescuing and taking care of sloth bears that were abused as dancing bears but the organization work to rescue snakes, tigers, birds and other animals. They have about seven elephants that have been rescued from working as begging elephants or circus elephants as well.

Aside from working to re-rehabilitate the injured and abused animals, the SOS program supports alternative opportunities for the indigenous communities who made their livelihoods from training and using the dancing bears. They are running skills development programs for women and men and have a shop on the site selling handicrafts made by the villagers (beautiful things).

We had a great tour guide, Prathamesh who was very knowledgeable and engaging. Our visit here has been a highlight for our family visiting India. I look forward to coming back.

3  Thank Carowhittaker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 8, 2013

You won't regret your visit to this beautiful wildlife sanctuary.Here are housed over 250 of the most magnificent creatures; the iconic Asiatic Black Bears. A personal guided tour is offered to any visitors and you can see the rehabilitated bears up close. We had an in depth history session on the dancing bear practise in India/Nepal. We learnt about their sad upbringing, brutal treatment and the widespread conservation efforts, as this practise is now outlawed throughout the country. Our guide, Prathamesh had only been there a short time, but was very knowledgeable and conveyed immense passion for his work. He was happy to answer all of our many questions.

Entry to the sanctuary is free, however there is a small fee for the access the road. We paid around 500 rupee. Please note, none of this goes to the Wildlife SOS or the sanctuary itself. The entire operation is based on volunteers and donations. So please bring a little cash, you won't mind parting with it after you've paid a visit to this gorgeous place. 10/10.

(To get there you can either take a bus from Agra~ 1.5 hours, or organise a taxi. We organised a driver, who we kept the whole day. We are glad we did this as we had the flexibility to see the other conservation efforts in the area).

1  Thank Rilett
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 8, 2013

A Saturday sojourn on October 5, 2013 to meet Laxmi, the rescued and rehabilitated elephant from Mumbai led me and my friends to the Wildlife S.O.S Elephant Rescue facility in Mathura and from there to the amazing Wildlife SOS Agra Bear Facility ensconced within the Sur Sarovar Bird Sanctuary. Cruising over the Taj Expressway to Mathura was a breeze and the clear directions thereafter made it simple for us to reach the destination.

Our first stop was the Elephant Rescue Facility which plays home to 7 rescued elephants that have borne many atrocities by humans. Some are blind, some obese and suffering from arthritis and osteoporosis, some left to die on roads and brought back to life here.

Before we embarked on this trip, Kartick Satyanarayanan, the co-founder of Wildlife SOS shared some elephantine maths with me. The elephants consume 300-400 kilos of food a day and as treats would need 30-40 kilos of carrots/bananas/apples per elephant and he hoped I had a vehicle big enough! :) If only I owned and drove a truck!

We eventually managed with 15 kilos of bananas (bought from Mathura itself - definitely cheaper than what you get in Delhi and minus the load of carting it all the way) as mini treats for Rajesh, Phoolkali, Maya, Bijli, Laxmi and Chanchal. Poor Bhola who is not so Bhola during Musth time was isolated from our treats - shall make up to him next time! At Rs 2500 a day per elephant - it definitely is no mean effort to look after these gorgeous creatures!!

A special mention is needed for the handsome Devil and adorable Richard Parker - our canine welcome committee at the Bear facility. These two could rid anybody of the travel weariness :)

Both these facilities are headed by Baiju Raj MV, who with his team (especially Prathamesh who left the hospitality industry to follow his love for animals and played guide to us at the bear facility and Vishnu who works on the fund raising drives) display immense love for all these animals. The entire team is extremely warm, helpful and informative, and they spared no efforts in making our visit memorable. From the well documented film on rescued bears that we were shown over a sumptuous lunch organized by them to the discussions over the conditions of these bears, individual nuances of behavior, the characteristic slurping sound, likes and dislikes of different bears and the new avenues for the kalandars to earn their livelihood as an inclusive rehabilitative process were all very educative. The fact that this is probably the world's largest facility for sloth bears makes one feel proud of the work done by the group and definitely encouraged me to continue the association even after I returned from this trip. And this certainly was the first of many such trips that I intend to make to these facilities.

For me it was a completely therapeutic trip as we spent a whole day with these gentle giants, bears, dogs, and other animals in the peaceful, green surroundings. A must visit for serious animal lovers but please people its not a zoo and the space for these rehabilitated animals must be respected and enjoyed without disturbances and loud noises. The Sur Sarovar Bird Sanctuary is also a great place for bird photographers and bird watchers as its still relatively untapped compared to popular places like Bharatpur, Sultanpur around Delhi.

5  Thank SarikaDandona
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 7, 2013

I have been back to the Agra bear sanctuary a few times now. After years of seeing these poor animals being tortured on the side of the road it is so wonderful that this organisation has now rescued every dancing bear from the streets of India and created havens for them to spend their final years in luxury. Very special experience. They also have an elephant sanctuary on the outskirts of Agra for retired working elephants from Delhi so its worth asking if you can go there too.

2  Thank otter369
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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