In a historic one of a kind event, a wild four year old female sloth bear was rescued thrice from the same village in the Bandipur Forest Division in Karnataka. Victim of a human-wildlife conflict, the first two times she was rescued, the villagers were attempting to chase her back into the forest. She was found to be ‘healthy’ after the necessary checkups by the Forest department, according to reports on record and was released back to the wild. However, a few days ago, a panic stricken villager came racing to the forest department office & alerted them that a bear had entered their village fields. He was sure that it was the same wild bear that had been caught twice before.
Upon receiving the call, the Wildlife SOS rescue team rushed to the location and found the female bear surrounded by villagers who were trying to chase her away. The rescue team darted the bear and safely transported her to the veterinary clinic. She seemed uncomfortable and trembling with pain and fear throughout the journey to the hospital. After a meticulous examination, the wild bear was found to be limping with a fractured joint and was unable to bear weight on her left limb. Radiographic interpretation of the joint revealed a gunshot bullet in the affected region and an unhealed fracture for which the vets decided to put a POP bandage after adducting the left limb with the help of a piece of blanket for support.
There is a possibility that the bear might be returning to the same location again and again because of food availability. Sometimes sloth bears cross forest patches and villages to expand their foraging area and many times the villagers illegally encroach on the forests cover, thus reducing the buffer between themselves & the bears. The relatively unaggressive nature of the bear can also be seen as a sign of mutual tolerance between these particular villagers and the animal. After examining the bear and her wounds, we realized that she had been suffering immense pain & had met with aggression & harm elsewhere & therefore she had returned to a known area where she felt comfortable.
The swollen inflamed and infected area on the left chest side seemed to be the entry point of the pellet shot. It was incised to drain the area and sutured after proper cleansing before the dressing and POP bandaging. We also took dental radiographs of the same bear and are awaiting results.
Necessary wound dressing, veterinary care and treatment is being continued regularly. She is very weak right now and is on a 90 day quarantine period. She is on daily oral anti-inflammatory medication and the daily food intake is also satisfactory and regular. At this moment, it looks like she won’t be able to return to the wild. Also she is being kept indoors in a den while she is undergoing treatment. If you want to help us with her treatment, please follow the link- www.wildlifesos.org/donate