Rescued bear undergoes surgery

Vets complete medical check-ups of eight furry creatures at wildlife rehab centre

Our Correspondent April 08, 2024


The Four Paws veterinarians, in collaboration with the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) rescue team, conducted veterinary checks on eight Asiatic bears which were rescued from various parts of Punjab.

This included castration of male bears, dental treatment, dressing of wounds, and removal of infected teeth for all three bears.

These bears are currently housed in the rescue and rehabilitation centre at the old zoo site in Islamabad. With this final round of treatment on Sunday, all eight Asiatic bears (six males and two females) have completed their treatment and surgical procedures.

The Four Paws team members, including Dr Frank Goeritz, Dr Amir Khalil, Dr Marina Ivanova, Velizar Angelov, Ahmad Badal, and Pia Einheimler, along with IWMB's Dr Usman, Sakhawat, Sana Raja, and Aneela, have been on-site for three days, providing essential medical, clinical, and surgical care to these animals recently confiscated from various cities in Punjab.

Dr Amir Khalil, leading the Four Paws team, held meetings with IWMB's chairperson Rina Saeed, board members, and local officials, assuring the group's assistance in constructing a sanctuary for bears and providing expertise in this regard.

Several cases of maltreatment of Asiatic bears have been reported in Pakistan, where they are subjected to torture, made to dance, and forced into fights for monetary gain by their captors.

The animals were rescued from different cities in Punjab based on the special instructions and interest of Marriyum Aurangzeb, senior minister of the Punjab. Many of them had wounds, pulled-out nails, and broken teeth.

There are still three or four bears rescued by the Punjab Wildlife Department from Sargodha and Bahawalnagar, ready to be housed and treated in Islamabad once transferred.

Owais Awan, Advocate counsel for IWMB, emphasised the need for a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Punjab Wildlife Department for the handover of these animals. He stated that since the Four Paws team is in Islamabad, the sooner they are shifted for treatment and checkup, the better.

The Four Paws spokesperson mentioned that the global animal welfare group performed various medical procedures, including ultrasound, vaccinations, anti-parasite treatments, micro-chipping, claw trimming, and teeth treatment. One female bear named Barfi underwent a life-saving dental procedure, and a male bear named Bhaloo had a wound on his neck treated and three teeth surgically removed due to inflammation and abscess. Another male bear, Cuckoo, received dental treatment for five teeth due to issues from illegal captivity as a dancing bear.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 9th, 2024.


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