This baby bear was clinging to his dying mom when rescuers arrived.
Poachers do not discriminate when it comes to the animals they kill, which means they often kill mothers and their babies when out hunting. Animals are poached for a number of reasons, but sloth bears are killed because humans are taking more and more of their natural habitat every year and then set up traps so the wild animals don’t encroach on the land that was once theirs.
For this baby sloth bear in particular, his mom walked into a high-voltage wire that was set up around a tiger reserve in India, where the mom died from electrocution despite rescuers attempting to save her. In the saddest display of despair and proof of the inhumanity of these traps, the 10-week-old baby sloth bear crawled on top of his mom and refused to leave her side after she died in front of him.
When rescuers found the pair, the baby was nursing from his mom’s dead body; this is something that no baby, whether they are human or not, should ever be forced to do.
The only silver lining to the story is that the baby was found in time to save him and that he, somehow, managed to avoid being electrocuted, though he suffered from some burns. He was named Mowgli and taken to Agra Bear Rescue Facility, which is run by the International Animal Rescue and Wildlife SOS.
“It will take a considerable amount of time for this baby bear to fully recover from this painful and traumatic experience, but we are there for him at every step of the way by giving him all the love and care possible, to help him grow into happy and healthy bear,” according to Wildlife SOS.
This certainly isn’t the first time that sloth bears have been targeted, but it is one of the cruelest methods that rescuers have ever seen. Killing this endangered species is illegal, and sniffer dogs were brought to the scene to find those behind the electric trap. Six men were arrested for the crime and are awaiting trial.
If rescuers had not found the mom and bear cub, it’s likely that the men would have taken both back with them and eaten the mom and sold the baby to use for baiting or to become a “dancing’ bear.” Bear baiting is when a bear cub is used to teach dogs how to be aggressive for dog fights and the baby bears are brutally murdered by the dogs. The entertainment industry for these bears is cruel as well, as they are forced to perform based on fear and then locked up in cages for days when not entertaining.
The practice of poaching is getting worse, as Lis Key, PR and communications manager for IAR, explained to The Dodo. She said,
“Bears and other wildlife are left exposed and vulnerable — and struggle to find food in their dwindling territory. Wild animals then stray into villages and onto farmland in search of food, trampling or eating people’s crops.” She added, “In retaliation, people set snares for wildlife and trap all kinds of unwitting victims such as pigs, deer and, as in this case, wild sloth bears,” she explained. “Whatever the animal, the poachers eat them as bushmeat.”
Mowgli the bear is adjusting well, though he is still traumatized and will need to be cared for at the facility for the rest of his life. By killing his mother while he was at such a young age, the rescue groups point out that they took not only his mother but his freedom as well.
“This young bear has been robbed of his chance to life a life of freedom in the wild as it is in the first 18-24 months of their lives that sloth bear cubs pick up the skills and natural instincts from their mothers that they require to survive in the wild. He is scared and yearning for his mother’s presence and is currently at our separate cub weaning unit under the full time care of a keeper.”
Though he will never again experience life in the wild, he will live a happy life at the facility with other bears just like him that need to be cared for. If you want to make a donation to help care for this bear, you can do so here.
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This article (Poachers Killed This Sloth Bear’s Mom, And He Didn’t Let Go Of Her Until He Was Rescued) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and True Activist.