Our partners in India join with the forest department and police to rescue five bears from poachers
In a four hour long, joint anti-poaching operation involving several enforcement agencies, five live sloth bears were seized from poachers who were moving the animals from an area near the Indo-Nepal border to the Deogarh district of Jharkhand, based on intelligence provided by our Indian partners Wildlife SOS.
‘Forestwatch’, the anti-poaching unit of Wildlife SOS, received intelligence that the poachers were hiding in a remote forested area in the Deogarh District of Jharkhand. The seizure, carried out by officers of the Forest Department and Police Force, was conducted under the guidance of DFO Deogarh and the support of PCCF (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden Shri PK Verma.
The five sloth bears were brought by wildlife traffickers from the Indo-Nepal border areas into the Deogarh district of Jharkhand. The offenders were planning to sell the animals to other middlemen. The anti-poaching operation was a result of extensive planning for several days. As soon as the intelligence was confirmed, the team reacted immediately and seized the bears. One offender has been arrested and a warrant has been issued to capture the other escaped criminals. Poaching of protected wildlife species is a serious and non-bailable offence under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder & CEO of Wildlife SOS, said: “As soon as intelligence on wildlife crime is intercepted, we immediately pass the information to the relevant authorities and provide all possible assistance. Sloth bears are a vulnerable species and poaching of this species must be prevented at all cost.
These bears have been poached from the wild and such activities negatively impact the wild population. Bears are poached for reasons such as bile extraction, gall bladder and various body parts as well as for the dancing bear trade.”
Alan Knight, OBE, our CEO, said: “We congratulate Wildlife SOS, the Forest Department and the Police Force for acting so swiftly and rescuing the bears before they could be sold on and hidden without trace. We hope it won’t be too much longer before the necessary paperwork is completed and they can all be transferred to our Agra Bear Rescue Facility.”
Baiju Raj MV, Director of Conservation Projects at Wildlife SOS said: “The bears are severely traumatised and require extensive medical treatment, and possibly surgical intervention. We are grateful to the Forest Department and the CWLW for their support and quick intervention to combat wildlife crime in the state.”
The Sloth bear (melursus ursinus), is one of the four unique species of Ursids that occur in the Indian subcontinent. Their population in the wild is severely threatened due to habitat loss, poaching, and retaliatory killing resulting from human bear conflict. The animal is listed as ‘vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List and listed under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).