3 bear cubs reared by humans find a new home

Three bear-cubs, separated from their parents and lost due to increasing human interference in their natural habitat, were rescued, grew up under human care and have now found a new home in the Mehao wildlife sanctuary in eastern Arunachal Pradesh.

Two of the cubs were rescued from the outskirts of Agartala and the third was taken over by Army personnel from local tribals in East Kameng district in Arunachal Pradesh. The IFAW-WTI (International Fund for Animal Welfare-Wildlife Trust of India) put them under specialised care for several weeks before dispatching them to Mehao. While two of the cubs were hand-raised at the Centre for Bear Rehabilitation and Conservation in Pakke Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh, the third was taken care of at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation in Kaziranga. Both CBRC and CWRC are centres set up by IFAW-WTI for specialised care of wild animals.

"Generally, these cubs are victims of people's activities either ill-intentioned, or ill-informed. Either way, we stand the risk of losing them from the wild. Our understanding of rehabilitation science is increasingly helping reduce this loss, but ideally we would have liked not to reach this situation at all," said Ian Robinson, director of Animal Rescue, a wing of IFAW.

While the bear cubs travelled several hundred kilometres to their new home in Mehao wildlife sanctuary in cages, WTI officials said they would now be made to walk regularly. "The cubs will now be walked in the forests daily," said Soumya Dasgupta, a wildlife biologist with IFAW-WTI who spent several weeks with the cubs. "During these accompanied walks, the cubs will learn the ways of the forest instinctively. They will be subsequently radio-collared and released into the wild after about six months," Dasgupta said.

IFAW-WTI has rehabilitated 30 orphaned or displaced bear cubs in the wild in the Northeast till date. "Many of these cubs were supposed to have been found alone by villagers during their forays into the forest to collect resources. There were also a few that were rescued from traders," said WTI regional head Sunil Kyarong.

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