Slideshow: three Asiatic bear cubs are closer to life in the wilds of Northeastern India

Three Asiatic black bear cubs rescued by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and local partner organization Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) are closer to a life in the wild today after an epic move from the IFAW Bear Rescue Center to the Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary in Northeastern India.

The journey of the orphaned bears to the forest rehabilitation site covered more than 400 kms on road and partly on a ship (over the river Brahmaputra). The journey was an arduous one which started with the vehicle breakdowns for several times as we moved on a deteriorating dirt road. Finally we reached Roing and spend the night at our field station on Thursday (1st Nov).

The next morning we set out on the mission to transport the bears from the field camp of Roing to the forest acclimatisation site, which is located 4 kms away in the forest. First, the bears were moved in the vehicle for about one km and the rest was coved on foot. This was the most difficult part as the recent floods have changed the whole terrain and made it difficult to walk.

Ten people were used to carry the bear holding cages while transporting them to the forest site. Interestingly we saw several landslides, though it very rarely occurs in the dry winters. Some parts of the hill with no vegetation, loose and dry might have triggered sand to slope at the response of wind to induce landslides.

After a one hour walk through difficult terrain we finally moved the bears to the forest site where they were kept in separate enclosures.

The rehabilitation site, located in the dense forests of Mehao WLS will take the orphaned bears through an 'assisted' release plan.

Before the bears are permanently released to the wild they will acclimatised to their future home. They will soon walk the forests with their keepers who will play the role of ‘surrogate mothers’.  At night, they will return to sleep in the enclosure.

After about five to six months, when the bears are able to fend for themselves without the help of their ‘surrogate mother’, they will be released in the wild. I hope, till then the cubs will enjoy exploring the lush Indian forests.

--SB

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