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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

Endangered sloth bear cub rescued from poacher

Bear cub being fed by Wildlife SOS staff at the IAR bear sanctuaryAn endangered sloth bear cub of only two or three weeks old has been rescued from a poacher in India, thanks to intelligence supplied by IAR’s partners Wildlife SOS (WSOS). A joint undercover operation conducted by the Forest and Police Departments in the State of Orissa and the Indian charity culminated in the rescue of the little cub whose eyes were still closed. It had clearly been stolen from its mother who may well have been killed while trying to protect it.

In the run-up to the raid informers from Wildlife SOS's Intelligence Unit kept the wildlife smugglers under surveillance and kept watch on the wildlife trading routes near the forested areas of Orissa which form the sloth bears’ natural range.

Then on 10 December the team received confirmation that a bear cub was in the hands of a trader. They also learned that the trader had ordered local poachers to bring him at least four more cubs. The team had to act swiftly to prevent further poaching and immediately set off for Orissa where they were joined by police and forest officials and planned how to proceed.

During the dramatic raid that followed trader Jhumman Khan was arrested and the little bear cub was confiscated. A further suspect was picked up for questioning. The cub was put into the care of Wildlife SOS whose vets and handlers are experts in the rearing of young bears.

Arrested poacher Jumman Khan with bear cub before confiscationKartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder of Wildlife SOS, said: "We are committed to ensuring that bear cubs aren’t poached and remain safely in the forest. In achieving this objective we will leave no stone unturned. We are grateful to the Orissa Forest Department and the Police for their support which resulted in this superbly executed seizure."

With support from International Animal Rescue, Wildlife SOS has established sanctuaries across India to care for rescued dancing bears. In the last five years they have rescued more than 420 bears from lives of pain and suffering on the streets. It is believed that there are still about 400 dancing bears in India, and IAR and WSOS are committed to stamping out the barbaric trade by 2010.