In an all night anti poaching rescue operation based on intelligence provided by Wildlife SOS, four young male sloth bears were seized from poachers on the Indo Nepal border. Six persons were arrested by Police and the Forest Department in the night long operation that lasted several hours carried out in the Sahibganj district of Jharkhand.
The four bears rescued aged between 15 months and 3 years were smuggled into India from Nepal by Kalandars who were planning to sell them to others for a hefty price.
Wildlife SOS, working with the Indian authorities, successfully ended the illegal and brutal practice of Dancing Bears across India with support from our international partners Free the Bears and International Animal Rescue in an effort that started in 1995 and rescued the last dancing bear in 2009.
â€œWe are grateful to the DGP Police Jharkhand, SP Police Sahibganj â€“ Mrs Vijaylakshmi and the PCCF Jharkhand â€“ Mr A K Malhotra and the DFO Sahibganj â€“ Mr Soren who provided all possible cooperation in the field to make the operation a successâ€ said Geeta Seshamani, Special Officer â€“ Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and Co founder â€“ Wildlife SOS
The four bears were then transported carefully in a large truck from the Indo Nepal border to the Wildlife SOS Agra Bear Rescue Facility in Uttar Pradesh which is the largest rehabilitation center for sloth bears in the world.
Sloth Bears are severely endangered and only found in the Indian subcontinent with a small population in Nepal and Bhutan. A separate sub species of the sloth bear is found in Sri Lanka. Sloth bears have been used for centuries as dancing and performing bears but this practice was banned by the Wildlife Protection Act in 1972.
Bears are poached for their body parts such as gall bladder, penis, bones, bile for preparation of Chinese Traditional Medicine and aphrodisiac in Southeast Asia and China. Bear paw soup is a delicacy in these regions.
The Anti poaching unit of Wildlife SOS â€œForest Watch!â€ Is run with support from One Voice Association, Humane Society International and Hauser Bears and helps monitor illegal trade in wild animals and their parts mainly operating through a network of informers and decoys, assisting enforcement agencies across India with such intelligence.
Dr.Yaduraj, Wildlife SOS Veterinary Surgeon at the Agra Bear Rehabilitation Center said “We are worried about the health of the bears. These animals have been mutilated very badly by their Kalandar handlers and are in a lot of pain. They are dehydrated and debilitated and will require extensive veterinary care. We will initially place them in Quarantine where they will be screened for disease and subjected to a detailed veterinary health examination. Once they stabilize and become comfortable, then we will start the rehabilitation procedure in large forested enclosures.”
The bears rescued will be rehabilitated at the Agra Bear Rescue Facility which is run by Wildlife SOS in collaboration with the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department with ongoing support from Free the Bears and International Animal Rescue.
The Agra Bear Rescue Facility is the worldâ€™s largest bear rescue centre and has specialized facilities for veterinary care of more than 250 rescued Sloth bears.