The wild female sloth bear was captured by the Karnataka Forest Department from Tumkur Division, Yelanadu, C.N.Halli, and was received at Bannerghatta bear rescue center on 26th August 2014 along with her baby cub, a victim of the human animal conflict so prevalent in this area she was found. Found in a pit near a farm, sedated and brought back to BBRC, she was in a deeply traumatized state, a deep wound on the left forearm region and swelling on the right hind limb was giving her a great deal of pain although the necessary treatment was given on that day.
She seemed restless and uncomfortable and was immobilized and was safely transported to Bangalore Veterinary College Hospital for further examination and radiography. Radiograph of the left limb-Elbow region revealed multiple gunshot bullets in and around elbow region and complete dislocation of humerus from Radius-ulna joint. Dressing and bandaging of the affected limb was done after proper alignment of the joint. It involved the vet team to redo the bandages and dress the wound biweekly. It was found that the sloth bear was not been bearing any weight on the affected limb and a bone fragment was visible at the wound site.
On consultation with Dr. L . Ranganath, Professor and HOD, Department of Veterinary Surgery and Radiology, Veterinary College Bangalore, Hebbal, regarding the lack of improvement in the condition of the wound on 17th September 2014, we were advised to either amputate the limb or continue with the current treatment approach. The process of amputation will be only done when everything else fails and there is no improvement in the bear’s health. The mother is approximately 14-15 year old and is under medication and observation, round the clock. Prognosis is grave because of the depth of the wound and the immense stress the bear had undergone prior to the rescue. Initially the mother was unable to care for her cub, thus the vets gave it to another mother bear that had a female cub of the same age. The foster mother bear was cautiously introduced to the cub, although slow to respond they bonded well.
At the end of September, the cubs are fairly independent and on their own. The mother is housed in the night den next door so she can see them playing and the cub can see his mother too. At present, the bear cub (10-12 months) is healthy and playful. He spends a lot of time with the other cub and enjoys the enrichment. The bear cubs are learning to play together and have their first meals. These babies have round the clock care with lots of treats from their keepers.
Mother bear has been named Swati and has had two major surgeries by this time. At this moment, it looks like she won’t be able to return to the wild. Also she is being kept indoors in a night den while she is undergoing treatment Being a wild bear, she has a lot of adjusting to do with her fellow bears and hopefully we will be able to create a new enclosure to house her and help her socialize. The BBRC currently houses and has been called six times in a year to rescue wild bears from the villages.