Number of rescued bears reaches 400 thanks to latest anti-poaching operation
In a joint operation conducted by the Karnataka Forest Department on a tip off by Wildlife S.O.S’s Anti-poaching network "Forest watch", three persons were arrested and a 4-month old cub was seized as a result of an anti-poaching operation conducted at Koppal District in Karnataka. In addition two adult bears were also rescued by the Forest Department.
With this seizure, the total number of dancing bears rescued and rehabilitated at the IAR bear sanctuaries by State Forest Departments and Wildlife S.O.S has reached 400, all in a span of less than five years.
Wildlife S.O.S started working on this issue in 1995 with support from the Government of India, various State Governments, International Animal Rescue and other international partners. The objective of the project was to eradicate the brutal practice of dancing bears in India, an age old entertainment practice which is banned, illegal and punishable by Indian law. As per the directive of the local magistrate courts at Gangavati Talok, the rescued sloth bears (all male) aged 12 years, 9 years and 4 months are now being transferred to the Bannerghatta Bear Rescue Center.
The Bannerghatta Bear Rescue Center is primarily funded by International Animal Rescue and is a collaboration between the Karnataka Forest Department and Wildlife S.O.S established with the purpose of providing a natural home for the rescued bears under rehabilitation.
According to DFO Koppal, Mr.Srinivasulu, "The raid teams totalling 25 persons from the Forest Department, police personnel and Wildlife S.O.S Anti poaching unit team members carried out the raid operation in the early hours of the morning. We are working with Wildlife S.O.S to encourage the Kalandars to surrender their bears peacefully and shall encourage them to give up this illegal work and adopt and legal alternative means of livelihood. Many persons have surrendered voluntarily, we are hopeful that we can soon make Karnataka a state free from this illegal practice of dancing bears".
Alan Knight, CEO of International Animal Rescue states: "We are absolutely delighted to have achieved the figure of rescuing 400 dancing bears. We are extremely proud of our association with Wildlife S.O.S and are thankful to the Government of India and the state Forest Departments for extending their wholesome support to our efforts in eradicating the cruel brutal practice of dancing bears from India".
According to Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder - Wildlife S.O.S "This operation is a result of extensive intelligence gathered by our intelligence network over the past few months since the seizure carried out in other states earlier this year".