Bear cub rescued from poachers in India
A young bear cub rescued from poachers in India is being cared for in a sanctuary funded by UK charity International Animal Rescue. Wildlife authorities from the Karnataka Forest Department received a tip-off from IAR’s Indian partners Wildlife SOS which led to the seizure of the bear cub and the arrest of two people. The bear cub was taken to a bear rescue centre in Bangalore.
Said Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder of Wildlife SOS: "The intelligence gathering was done through our Forestwatch surveillance network, and had been ongoing for several weeks. We had information about the presence of a bear cub and our informers stayed hot on their trail until we finally located them.”
Mr Rajashekar, Deputy Conservator of Forests in Bellary, Karnataka, said: "Despite repeated warnings from our department, some members of the Kalandar tribal community persist in wildlife trafficking and bringing in bear cubs. Such wildlife crime has to be curbed. This seizure has sent a strong message to traffickers that they can’t escape from the law".
The raid involved 20 personnel from the Karnataka Forest Department and Wildlife SOS anti-poaching unit. In addition, five vehicles were used in the operation.
An adult male bear aged about 10 years was also rescued. One of the traffickers managed to abscond and is wanted by the police for questioning. The other accused are currently in prison for being involved in the illegal trade in wildlife. The Sloth bear (melursus ursinus) is a highly endangered species and receives protection under Schedule 1 of India’s Wildlife Protection Act 1972. International Trade is prohibited by its listing on Appendix I of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.)
The baby bear’s delicate muzzle had been pierced with a red hot poker and a coarse rope inserted to control her. Her front canine teeth had also been crudely knocked out with iron rods.
The little cub was moved to the Bannerghatta Bear Rescue Centre which has a dedicated cub care unit and other specialist facilities. The centre is a collaboration between the Karnataka Forest Department and Wildlife SOS and receives its main funding from International Animal Rescue.
Alan Knight OBE, CEO of International Animal Rescue said he was "delighted that one more bear cub has been rescued thanks to effective intelligence gathered by Wildlife SOS's anti-poaching unit and stringent law enforcement by the State Police and Forest Departments".