New Generation Of Wildlife Take First Step In Their Ancestors Homeland
The Center for Bear Rehabilitation and Conservation (CBRC) is the only hope for rescued Asiatic bears in India. This is the only establishment in India, with the assistance of the forest department, that rescues Asiatic black bears from volatile, unnatural situations, cares them in accordance with strictly defined rehabilitation protocols and releases them back into the wild through a series of "soft releases".
What other choice would these bears have? Previous to the establishment of CBRC, confiscated black bears were taken to the Itanagar Zoo by the forest department so that they could live out the rest of lives free from the confinement of local villages. This was viewed as an appropriate measure considering there were no other alternatives. CBRC offers an alternative and is now making history with the release of these rescued Asiatic black bears in the forests of Arunachal Pradesh.
Because these bears are hunted by poachers, cubs are left abandoned, are then adopted by gunmen or the gunman's family, and later hand raised as either pets, entertainment animals, or in some other form of captivity. This is an all too familiar story for all hunted wildlife.
IFAW and our sister organization in India, WTI, has worked to provide a safe and protected environment for the five bears released over the weekend. Arunachal Pradesh Forest is a lush, tropical, semi-evergreen forest - a perfect dwelling place for the bear cubs.
"The first three years of the project has been a learning experience for us. Now that we have standardized the right protocol, we are confident of success in this venture. This is the first time that this exercise is being carried out in five bears, simultaneously as a group. At time be interesting to know when and how they will start a life of their own, as bears in the wild are solitary by habitat", said NVK Ashraf, Director, Wild Rescue,WTI.
To make this story even more interesting, over the same weekend two elephant calves and a one-and-a-half year-old greater one-horned rhino (say that five times fast!) were also released into the Manas National Park (different location than the bears). Manas National Park has just tripled in size, thanks to the efforts of WTI and the local forest department. 300 square kilometers were once designated as protected forest - an area where IFAW and WTI have concentrated conservation efforts. Now Manas National Park stands at 950 square kilometers!
Never before have elephants been rehabilitated and released back into the wild until efforts taken by IFAW and WTI last year. (WATCH THE VIDEO). Now, with the expansion of the forest, we will continue to move forward with our successful rehabilitation program knowing a commitment has been made to increase the size of Manas National Park - a region that is home to many threatened species.
The two young elephants released over the weekend were rehabilitated at CWRC (Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation) after being rescued from deadly accidents while migrating from one region to another: one young calf was rescued from a ditch on a tea estate and the other was rescued after it had gotten stuck in mud and later abandoned by its herd.
And lastly, the release of the young one-horned rhino is a monumental step towards replenishing the population that once thrived in Manas National Park.
Both the elephants and the relocated rhino will wear radio collars for effective post-release monitoring.