IFAW India: Two Asiatic Black Bears Radio Collared and Returned to the Wild

The opportunity to walk through the forest of Pakke materialized when I heard that IFAW, local partners in India - Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and the Forest Department of Arunachal Pradesh were collaborating to place radio collars and release two more bears to the wild.

BearCollaringIndia1 This post was filed by International Fund for Animal Welfare's Sashanka Barbaruah, reporting from the field in Northeast India.

A strong urge to explore the Pakke Tiger Reserve was lingering since the last couple of years. The opportunity to walk through the forest of Pakke materialized when I heard that IFAW, local partners in India - Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and the Forest Department of Arunachal Pradesh were collaborating to place radio collars and release two more bears to the wild.

The two orphan cubs rehabilitated at the IFAW Bear Rescue Center in Arunachal Pradesh were radio-collared on the 9th of June. During their rehabilitation, the bears were accompanied by trained animal keepers and taken for daily walks in the wilderness to help them develop survival skills.

Our journey to the Doigurung release site was an arduous one which had begun with a walk through a forest road. A team of nine people comprising of IFAW and Forest Department staff walked through an undulating route littered with long grass and shrubs.

We went into the forest, spotting birds, insects, and various kinds of trees. The motif of the forest is vibrant and gorgeous. The tiny multi-hued insects on the forest floor, the wild mushrooms celebrating their existence in the world and the trees soaring up into the sky. I noticed every little detail of the forest which made the walk interesting, even though it was tiresome.

I did not realize that we had walked for almost 5 hours and we reached Khari (the first forest stopover). We decided to halt at Khari for the day as we were very tired from walking a total of 12 kms. The down pouring of rain made walking difficult (the roads were slippery). Leaches also make life even more difficult in Pakke. I found a hand full of them crawling up my leg upon reaching the forest camp.

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