Baby bear orphaned in MP, brought to Agra

Agra, Feb 22 (IANS) A 10-week-old baby bear, orphaned by poachers in Madhya Pradesh, was on Wednesday brought to the Agra bear centre, India’s biggest.

Wildlife SOS official Baiju told IANS that the cub was in quarantine.

Baiju said the bear will stay at the rescue centre like other bears as he cannot be sent back to the wild where survival will be difficult.

The sloth bear mother and cub were electrocuted close to the border of the Sanjay-Dubri Tiger Reserve in Sidhi district of Madhya Pradesh.

The cub survived the trauma and was found clutching his dead mother tightly and nursing from her.

The Madhya Pradesh Foreign Department Police later arrested six suspected poachers who deliberately electrocuted the bear with a high voltage electric wire.

Forest department officials found the bear in a paralyzed state.

Using trained sniffer dogs, the investigators zeroed in on the poachers who were caught with the tools used in the horrific crime.

The accused confessed to the crime and have been charged under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.

The rescue team from Agra, however, could not save the mother bear who succumbed to injuries, leaving behind her orphaned cub in a shocked state.

The Chief Wildlife Warden of the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department, Jitendra Agarwal, ordered the transfer of the young bear to the Agra Bear Rescue Facility Centre that specialises in caring for young animals.

“The male bear is under a lot of trauma and will require to be under constant medical observation,” an official said.

Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder of Wildlife SOS, said: “We congratulate the Forest Department for arresting the poachers responsible for this heinous crime so quickly.

“Wildlife SOS will extend all legal assistance required by the Forest Department to ensure that these criminals do not go scot free.

“It is essential to have such offenders convicted to set an example for others to learn.”

Geeta Seshamani, co-founder of Wildlife SOS, said: “We are shocked that the poachers resorted to this terrible method of poaching and electrocuted this endangered sloth bear.

“The young bear will receive all possible medical and life time care at the Agra facility as we have specialized medical facilities and well trained veterinarians and care staff.”

Over the years, the population of sloth bears in the wild has been threatened due to loss of habitat and poaching. Sloth bears are protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.