Wildlife SOS was established in 1995 by a small group of individuals inspired to start a movement and make lasting change to protect and conserve India's natural heritage, forests and wildlife wealth. Today, the organization has evolved to actively work towards protecting the Indian wildlife, conserving habitat, studying biodiversity, conducting research and creating alternative and sustainable livelihoods for erstwhile poacher communities.
India's wildlife is under severe threat - every animal from the majestic elephant and the tiger, to the shy sloth bear and rare pangolins have fast become "the hunted". While time is running out for these creatures, it's not too late to help.
We can make a difference if every single one of us consciously decides to give back to the planet, to give back to nature and help protect the environment and wildlife that we have neglected so far.
Although Wildlife SOS is mainly known for our work with 'dancing bears' we also have active projects to help leopards, elephants, reptiles and other animals. We also work on various projects targeted at environment and biodiversity conservation, as well as, reducing our carbon footprint.
We believe in working with organizations and individuals that share our philosophy. Wildlife SOS has formal 'co-operative' agreements in place with state governments and forest departments in more than nine states in India.
Wildlife SOS is a registered Non Profit Charity in India, USA and UK.*
*All funds donated to Wildlife SOS are transferred to India and are used for wildlife and environment protection, rescue and conservation projects.
Geeta Seshamani, Co-Founder
Geeta Seshamani, an English Literature Lecturer at the Delhi university, has been running Friendicoes SECA (Society for the Eradication of Cruelty to Animals) for almost 30 years.
Geeta's objective always was to try and help animals in need. Friendicoes SECA provides an animal emergency helpline for dogs, cats and domestic animals. In addition to the thirty year old and well established clinic cum mini hospital in the Defence Colony Flyover Market, Friendicoes also runs a mobile clinic for working equines (horses, donkeys and mules) in Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
In 1995, Geeta witnessed a sloth bear bobbing up and down in the middle of the Delhi-Agra highway, a main tourist route. The poor bear was being dragged along by a coarse rope that was strung through his bleeding infected muzzle, while his 'owner' begged money off the tourists, who probably hoped that their money would be used to provide care for the bear.
This "Dancing Bear" (as they're referred to since they jump up and down in pain when their handlers pull their rope) struck a nerve. Geeta realized this was not entertainment for tourists but torture and abuse of a shy endangered wild animal that was being exploited for human greed.
She asked Kartick, a colleague to work with her to help investigate the story of India's dancing bears and help to create a long term sustainable solution to end this cruel practice that had gone on long enough!
Wildlife SOS became the platform to create a long term holistic solution to help rehabilitate the Kalandar community in alternative livelihoods while also giving the bears back their dignity and freedom.
Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-Founder
Kartick Satyanarayan has always loved animals. As a child, he would walk back from school with orphaned kittens and crows with broken wings, small puppies, birds, much to the chagrin of his mother! This interest gradually grew with time with Kartick befriending, rescuing, studying wild animals, snakes with an increasing fascination for the wilderness and conservation. His dedication to this cause eventually won the heart of all around him and thus, Kartick was encouraged to follow his passion.
While majoring in commerce and business management, Kartick spent much of his time in the field working on a tiger ecological status survey for the Wildlife Conservation Society (also known as the New York Zoological Society). It is then Kartick witnessed illegal timber mafia and poachers first hand. Surprising them, he instituted a 'citizen's arrest' and took them down to the local authorities.
With time Kartick realized there was much more he could contribute in addition to research. He realized that the need of the hour was action with a sense of urgency to protect India’s depleting wildlife, wildlife’s habitat and environment. It was a serious situation - A real SOS for wildlife. This was how Wildlife SOS was born in 1995!
When Geeta Seshamani approached him about a project to study the 'dancing bears' across India which would eventually lead to conservation and protection of these bears in the wild, he took up the challenge to make Wildlife SOS the platform to bring an end to a brutal centuries old practice that was endangering India's wild sloth bears. This project went on to become one of Wildlife SOS's flagship project and has successfully brought an end to the cruel practice of Dancing Bears. In December of 2009, the last dancing bear was rescued from the Indian streets.
Wildlife SOS has gone on to become one of the leading conservation organizations in the Indian subcontinent.
For the founders of Wildlife SOS, this is purely a work of love, passion and something that we need to do to leave the environment and wildlife untouched for our future generations.