Lush trees at the Wildlife SOS Agra Bear Rescue Facility (ABRF) form an overhead canopy, with serenity prevailing throughout the premises. Under the green blanket, Bintha enjoys frolicking in her enclosure, playing with fellow Sloth bears, Rose and Elvis. The trio thoroughly investigates new enrichments to find out what surprises they contain, and devours honey-laced porridge in the blink of an eye. Their caregiver continuously finds ways to keep them occupied, so there is never a dearth of excitement!
One can find Bintha, our bear of the month for September, living a peaceful life today, a life which was once was marred with loss, separation, and unimaginable trauma.
Rehabilitating Bintha at ABRF
Two siblings, Bintha and Bean, were put through a tough life of misery as ‘dancing’ bears, and were auctioned across the Indo-Nepal border. Merely a few months old, the cubs were rescued from poachers by our anti-poaching unit ‘Forest Watch’ in the year 2013. Tender muzzles of these Sloth bears were mercilessly pierced using a hot iron rod, causing them excruciating pain. Our team found Bintha and Bean as terrified cubs, who were in immediate need of medical treatment and utmost care. Since the orphaned cubs were hand-raised and had already spent months under our care, it was highly unlikely that they would be able to survive by themselves in the wild.
In the initial months at ABRF, the bears displayed severe stress through aggressive head bobbing and sways — both being signs of stereotypic behaviour. The veterinarians and care staff spared no effort in making sure that their recovery was speedy. In no time, both Bintha and Bean became an inseparable part of the Wildlife SOS family. The duo also found two other bears — Rose and Elvis — who they got along with quite well. Each with their own unique and quirky personalities grew up together, livening the atmosphere of ABRF with their playful antics.
However, last year, we lost Bean as a result of liver failure, which had caused him immense discomfort and pain. Since then, Bintha has been spending most of her time with Rose and Elvis.
Bintha and her Antics
Whether it be playing on the wooden platform that the caregivers built for her or breaking small branches from trees as a new plaything, Bintha always manages to keep herself busy. With numerous trees all around the centre, the Sloth bear takes complete advantage of her instinctive abilities and spends the day playing with suspended enrichments. Her enrichment ball is smeared with peanut butter or honey, which she can spend hours licking. During the afternoon, Bintha lays on the hammock, enthusiastically watching Elvis taking laps in their field! Sometimes, Elvis heads over to Bintha, nudging her to play with him. Bintha chases him off if she wishes to be alone, but when she’s up for it, the two indulge in mock-wrestling with each other. Fun-loving Bintha also ends up winning the friendly match!
When not basking in the sun atop her platform, Bintha spends a great amount of time digging small pits in the soft mud of their field. During the colder months, these pits are filled with fresh hay by her caregiver and transformed into comfortable cubbyholes — a personal delight for the bear! During the warm days, on the other hand, she often spends time gambolling in the pool in her forested enclosure. Sometimes, her caregiver passes on a piece of wooden log for her to play with as she splashes and rolls around. She absolutely cherishes the pool-time soirees and needs to be tactfully lured out with treats when the day comes to an end.
Treatment and Care
Our veterinary team is closely monitoring her health and feeding patterns. Under the care of our dedicated staff, Bintha undergoes regular checkups, a bout of deworming, and annual vaccinations. She is also administered with vitamin, mineral, and liver supplements that boost her health. During the treatments, the staff keeps her distracted with a constant supply of dates.
The caregiver provides Bintha with a generous quantity of fruits, laid out on a platter. Fresh watermelons, papayas, chikoos (sapodilla), apples, and her favourite grapes are chopped and given to her. She takes a small break while eating and then ambles on to tumble right back into the hay bed. Bintha is also quick to slurp up her porridge whenever the caregiver brings it to her. The staff also ensures to give additional items including dates, jaggery, rice puffballs, and coconut along with her daily meals.
We are grateful to be able to provide Bintha with the opportunity to live freely, surrounded by fellow bears! You can help us care for Bintha and other bears like her by making a donation.