The bear cubs being transported to the acclimatisation site at Khari Pong on elephant back
Pakke Tiger Reserve, Arunachal Pradesh, August 23, 2017: Three orphaned Asiatic black bear cubs that are being hand-raised at the Centre for Bear Rehabilitation and Conservation (CBRC) – the rescue, treatment and rehabilitation facility for Asiatic black bears established in Pakke Tiger Reserve by IFAW-WTI and the Arunachal Forest Department – have been shifted to a pre-release site at Doimukh in the Khari Pong area of Pakke.
Ro-1 and Ro-2, the two male cubs, had been rescued and brought to CBRC from Abango village in the Roing district of Arunachal Pradesh in April, while Yalo, the female, was handed over to an IFAW-WTI Mobile Veterinary Service (MVS) team in Belong, Siang district, in late June.
The three cubs were taken to the Khari Pong area on August 18, under the supervision of CBRC Field Biologist Nilmani Rabha. Three forest department elephants were used for the 17-kilometre journey to the acclimatisation site, where the bears are now housed in separate cages placed on a machaan for their safety.
CBRC is the only specialised rehabilitation centre for Asiatic black bears in India. Nearly 50 rescued bear cubs have been sent back to the wild since the centre was established in 2002.
“As per CBRC’s ‘assisted release’ protocol, the bears will be observed in their cages for at least a week”, said Nilmani Rabha. “In the next stage they will be taken for daily walks into the forest by an animal keeper (acting as a foster parent), providing them the opportunity to familiarise themselves with their natural habitat – identifying their natural foods and honing other skills necessary for independent survival in the wild – but returning to the safety of the acclimatisation site at night.”
IFAW-WTI animal keepers Aman Biri, Duluk Dagang and Lakhiram Bhuyan have been stationed at Khari Pong to look after the bear cubs. CBRC veterinarian Dr Rinku Gohain will also continue to monitor the cubs as they progress through the assisted release protocol. “The cubs were screened for disease and found healthy prior to being shifted to the pre-release site”, he said. “They have also been micro-chipped. Their natural instincts have already started kicking in and we are optimistic that they will be successfully rehabilitated into the wild.”
The three cubs with an animal keeper near CBRC, prior to being shifted to the Khari Pong area of Pakke