By Resham Beri
Remember the radio collared sloth bear that was rescued by Wildlife SOS and released back in Suhelwa Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh? Well, we call him SB01 for purpose of our record keeping and research. Here’s an update on what SB01 has been up to for the past few months.
The first few days after the release of the bear (SB01), the radio signals we received showed the bear moving in the north eastern direction of the dense forest in the Suhelwa Tiger Reserve.
He remained in the same area for almost a week before he finally moved ahead closer to the border of the Tiger Reserve that shared boundaries with out neighboring country of Nepal. This got us a bit worried, knowing that Nats and other community poachers illegally trade bears into Nepal and kill them for their body parts. Our intelligence had confirmed presence of a lot of wire snares in Nepal and we were concerned.
Soon our bear SB01 crossed into the Nepal border and we lost all radio contact with him. With no radio signals our tracking team were berserk and worked hard for over ten days climbing all the high points in the region trying to get a radio signal but didn’t get any signal for 10 days. Finally our field research team started gearing up for a visit to Nepal and meet with forest officials there to take their assistance in locating the bear, when one morning in August, much to our team’s delight, we started receiving signals from the radio collar again. Much to our relief, SB01 had crossed back into India and moved into West Suhelwa Range and away from the Indo-Nepal border.
It appear our bear SB01 is settling in well in the Suhelwa Tiger Reserve. The radio signals we are tracking indicate the bear is a densely forested area close to a large water reservoir, which we assume he selected due to the availability of food and the location being far away from human settlements.
The signals from bear SB01 also indicate deliberate avoidance of human settlements, which is a very positive sign.
On one occasion, we received signal of the bear being 15 kms away from a village near Dagmara. We are prepared for receiving reports from villagers who may sight the bear, but SB01 did not go any closer to the village and nobody has reported any bear sightings so far. Fingers crossed!
In early September, there were radio signals received that placed him an area near Raniyapur dam. Our team is in the field tracking the bear and we shall keep you updated on his adventures and movements. Thank you for your support.