Bear of the Month – Fancy

December 3, 2021 | By Neellohit Banerjee

What comes to your mind when you hear the word Kashmir? One of the things that we associate Kashmir with are the Asiatic Black bears (also called Moon Bears) and Himalayan Brown bears. But more importantly, located at the foothills of the Dachigam National Park, the Wildlife SOS Dachigam Rescue Centre is what our Asiatic Black bears and Brown bears call home.

Fancy, who was one of the first Black bears bears to be rescued by Wildlife SOS is our bear of the month!

Fancy is special, in the way that she came to us in 2007, the same year the Jammu & Kashmir state government bestowed the responsibility for the upkeep of the rescued and abandoned bears upon Wildlife SOS. Fancy’s rescue story is not a very pleasing one; Fancy and her sister Rozy were barely a week old when members of the Department of Horticulture stumbled upon the duo within the premises of the Botanical Garden, in Srinagar. Amidst a routine cleaning and maintenance of the grounds, the staff came across a huge den, only to find two abandoned bear cubs inside. Worried for their safety, they immediately contacted Wildlife SOS to intervene and aid the helpless cubs.

The Wildlife SOS team made relentless efforts to reunite them with the mother for three days by recording their calls and playing it to lure the mother, but these attempts turned out to be futile. Hence, a decision was made to place the cubs in the care of our team at the Dachigam centre .

Today after 14 years, that small cub is now a full-grown healthy bear. The Dachigam centre houses three female black bears, one male black bear and one male brown bear. The three females share a spacious enclosure so it’s no surprise that Fancy shares a very close bond with her sibling Rozy, and our third bear Julie.

Asiatic Black bears are omnivorous but a major part of their diet consists of fruits such as acorns, berries, cherries, peach, apples as well as maize. Fancy enjoys a nutritious diet of fruits, porridge mixed with milk, dates, eggs and jaggery, and honey. But what she loves most are apples and watermelons. Black bears also have long claws which they use to find and eat termites. So it’s not surprising to see Fancy digging out termites from the soil as well as from old, dead wood.

That Fancy is a very loved bear at the centre is clear from her extremely fun-loving nature (she loves to play in water pools!). She is also very comfortable with her caregivers due to her familiarity with them for the last 14 years. As magnificent as she is, Fancy is laced with her own idiosyncrasies. From the interesting tales that we hear from our staff, there’s one peculiar habit that we know of. Whenever the caregivers put grass inside her cozy den, she pulls the bales out to create a bed under the tree so she can bask in the serenity of the landscape.

Your help & generosity is what keeps Fancy healthy and provides her with the fulfilling life that she has now. We are utterly grateful for that. Please consider becoming a monthly donor or a sponsor to support Fancy’s care and upkeep.

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