The Wildlife SOS Moon Bear Conservation Programme in Kashmir (with support from The Benindi Fund) was started with the express purpose of mitigating the increasing man animal conflict witnessed by the state in recent times. Wildlife SOS has been actively working with the Jammu and Kashmir Wildlife Protection Department for over two years now, towards finding practical solutions to help mitigate and manage the rising conflict in the region. Our presence in the state meanwhile has also helped facilitate several rescue and rehabilitation operations for several Bears and leopards that strayed into human habitation. All rescue operations are carried out with support from the J & K Wildlife Protection Department and its Bio veterinary wing. A few excerpts from the Kashmir Diary are enclosed below for the benefit of Wildlife SOS supporters:
Three legged Bear visits Veterinary campus (8th Nov 2008)
A large bear was spotted by some staff of the veterinary college campus who alerted the Authorities and WSOS. The bear had been spotted in dense undergrowth by a fresh water stream. It was late afternoon when the operation began and the bear was sighted again by the team. After careful maneuvering near the bushes where it was hiding, the bear was darted. However the bear had other plans and ran off into the dense forest area, disappearing out of sight. A combing operation ensued and one hour later a very drowsy bear was discovered sleeping beside the chain link mesh fencing. It was already dark and it was quite a challenge to transport the animal to the Dachigam National Park. Surprisingly, the bear had only three legs, one of its legs was missing from the hock joint and was definitely an old injury â€“ perhaps a trap! But the bear was healthy and not in pain. He seemed to be managing his life very well on three legs. Once shifted to a safe area to prevent him from straying to the veterinary college and other urban areas, he was later released in the Dachigam forest area.
River Rescue at Aishmukkam, South Division (7th October 2008)
Villagers on the outskirts of their village spotted a Moon Bear. The frightened villagers gathered into a large mob and tried to chase the Bear away and started attacking it with sticks and rocks. The bear who was equally terrified by now finally took refuge in the hollow depression of a large tree trunk. As soon as this case was reported the WSOS team along with Dr. Shabir Ahmed Mir of the Bio Veterinary Wing of the Wildlife Protection Department rushed to the spot and darted the bear. As expected the bear was not having a good day and did not like the dart. He wanted to put as much distance between himself and the villagers and jumped into a flowing watercourse and took refuge beneath a small wooden structure. Luckily for us the water wasnâ€™t deep so there was no risk of the Bear drowning. However it took a long time to get the Bear out of the water. The groggy bear now rescued from the mob was transported to the Overa Wildlife Sanctuary and released back in the wild where he now lives happily far away from mobs.
Moon Bear visits Kitchen Garden – Kulgam Rescue Operation (2nd May 2008)
A juvenile Moon bear (Asiatic Black Bear) was discovered by the owner of a house in kulgam exploring his kitchen garden. Horrified by the sight of a very large bear in his kitchen garden of his house he quickly alerted the authorities. On getting the information, the Wildlife Protection Department and the Wildlife SOS team rushed to the spot. The police stepped in and assisted by cordoning off the area. The bear by now having finished hs kitchen gaden exploration was out in the open area. The team tried to net the bear, but were unsuccessful. By now an impatient mob gathered and started chasing the bear who promptly took off to the next village. Thankfully the team darted the Bear and â€¨whisked him away to be released in the ¨Overa sanctuary in Pahalgam. The support from the Benindi fund makes it possible to help these bears. There is an urgent need to procure two vehicles for this project. You can click here to help make a difference to these animals.