International Animal Rescue

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International Animal Rescue
IndustryAnimal welfare
HeadquartersUnited Kingdom
Key people
John Hicks, Alan Knight OBE, CEO

International Animal Rescue, also known as IAR, is an animal welfare non-profit organization based in the United Kingdom that comes to the aid of wild and domestic animals with hands-on rescue and rehabilitation. International Animal Rescue returns rehabilitated animals to the wild while also providing permanent sanctuary for those that cannot be released. International Animal Rescue specializes in comprehensive sterilization and vaccination programs for stray dogs and cats, particularly in developing countries. They also work to educate the public in the humane treatment of all animals. International Animal Rescue has offices in the United Kingdom, United States, India, Indonesia, Malta and the Netherlands.


International Animal Rescue was established by John and Jo Hicks, and first registered as a charity in the United Kingdom in September 1989; in Goa, India in 1998; in the United States in 2001 and in the Netherlands and Indonesia in 2008. IAR Malta became an officially recognized body in 1993.

The first clinic and rescue center was established in Goa in 1989 to sterilize stray dogs and vaccinate them against rabies. The Goa center (known as Animal Tracks) is licensed under the Animal Birth Control (ABC) grant system introduced by Maneka Gandhi.


International Animal Rescue's patrons are: Bill Bailey, Jo Brand, Elkie Brooks, Maneka Gandhi, Dr Scott Miller, Dr Roger A Mugford, Trevor Woodman MBE.

Dancing bear rescue and rehabilitation[edit]

Rescued dancing bears in the sanctuary.

The practice of dancing bears was made illegal in India in 1972 but in the decades that followed sloth bears were still poached from the wild and forced to perform for tourists.

In 2002, International Animal Rescue together with Indian partner organization Wildlife SOS opened the first sanctuary for rescued dancing bears near Agra and the Taj Mahal.

In December 2009, International Animal Rescue and Wildlife SOS succeeded in bringing this practice to an end by rescuing Raju, the last dancing bear in India.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9]

The hundreds of rescued bears are now living in a semi-natural environment in sanctuaries in Agra and Bannerghatta National Park, near Bangalore.

The rehabilitation of the bears' handlers formed an integral part of the project, ensuring they would not revert to bear dancing as a way of earning a living. The Kalandar tribes people who danced the bears were taught new trades such as rickshaw driving or carpet weaving to help them support their families.

Primate rescue and rehabilitation[edit]

Rescued infant orangutan at IAR's center in Ketapang.

International Animal Rescue's team in Indonesia grew out of a group called ProAnimalia International that cared for animals confiscated from the illegal trade circuit.

In 2006 ProAnimalia became part of International Animal Rescue and in 2007 a new primate rescue and rehabilitation center was built in Ciapus, near Bogor, on the island of Java.

IAR Indonesia specializes in rescuing and rehabilitating orangutans, macaques and slow lorises and releasing them back into protected areas in the wild.

In Indonesian Borneo, IAR rescues and cares for a growing number of orangutans at their emergency rescue center in Ketapang, West Kalimantan, from orphaned infants to full-grown adults that spent years in captivity.

John and Jo Hicks have also set up The Primate Trust (UK) and Primate Trust India (Goa) to assist in the welfare on primarily primates in India. [10][11] The rescue center on the island of Java has facilities for the treatment and care of macaques and slow lorises.[12]

Dog welfare[edit]

Female street dog and pup at IAR'S center in Goa.

International Animal Rescue set up a rescue center called Animal Tracks in 1998 in the town of Mapusa in the north of Goa, India, to address the welfare issues of the stray dog population. Since then, the sterilization and vaccination programs have dramatically reduced the numbers of strays and as a result of the anti-rabies vaccinations cases of rabies in humans have also been eliminated in the areas where IAR operates.

International Animal Rescue's veterinary center in Trichy, Tamil Nadu was established in 2005 by Dr Deike Schacht. The center's aim is to control and care for the stray dog population with sterilization and vaccination, and to provide shelter and treatment for sick and injured dogs.

Cat welfare[edit]

Kitten at Catastrophes Cat Rescue.

International Animal Rescue's veterinary teams in India and Indonesia routinely sterilize stray cats as means of reducing and controlling their populations. A team from Catastrophes Cat Rescue in the United Kingdom also conducts sterilization trips for IAR in Spain and other parts of Europe by trapping and sterilizing communities of feral cats and providing veterinary treatment.

Through Catastrophes Cat Rescue, International Animal Rescue gives sanctuary to unwanted cats in the United Kingdom. The cats receive veterinary treatment and are spayed or neutered.

Bird protection[edit]

Injured osprey in the care of IAR Malta.

International Animal Rescue joined the campaign to end the illegal shooting of migrating birds in Malta in 1990 and lobbies at a national and European level for greater bird protection while working closely with the police and the Ministry of Environment and Rural Affairs to help animals in need. IAR also provides a 24-hour emergency helpline where inquiries are taken about abandoned animals, illegal bird hunting and trapping, wildlife trafficking and instances of animal cruelty.

International Animal Rescue runs a bird rehabilitation hospital in Valletta where injured species are nursed back to health such as honey buzzards, kestrels, short eared owls, as well as familiar garden songbirds. Once their wounds have healed, the rescued birds are released back into the wild.


  1. ^ Nelson, Dean (18 December 2009). "India's last dancing bear saved". Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  2. ^ "We saved the dancing bears". Daily and Sunday Express. 22 December 2009. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  3. ^ "Tue, Dec 22, 2009 – Raju, the last of India's long-mistreated dancing bears, finds permanent sanctuary". The Irish Times. 12 December 2009. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  4. ^ "Bear dancing ends in India – Bangalore – DNA". 22 December 2009. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  5. ^ "Raju in, dancing bears do their last act". The Indian Express. India. 21 December 2009. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  6. ^ "News". AlertNet. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  7. ^ Archived from the original on 27 May 2010. Retrieved 12 July 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ "Charity frees 'last' dancing bear". BBC News. 20 December 2009. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ Charles Bremner in Brussels 22 October 2011 10:05 am. "The Times | UK News, World News and Opinion". The Times. UK. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  11. ^ "Orangutan rescue and rehabilitation project, Borneo". YouTube. 2 February 2010. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  12. ^ David Adam (6 July 2009). "David Adam on the slow loris, the world's only poisonous primate | World news". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 22 October 2011.

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