ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) on Tuesday rescued another seven-month-old black bear cub.

Even though the cub, named Baloo, is in good health, two of its incisors are broken. On Tuesday, the IWMB vet removed a metal ring from the cub’s nose and checked its health. Since the Islamabad Zoo was closed, the cub was being kept in a secret location, IWMB chairperson Rina Saeed Khan told Dawn.

The cub was rescued from Gujranwala after the IWMB came across a viral video of it performing in the streets. Punjab Wildlife department was asked to assist in rescuing Baloo, named after the grey bear in the animated film, Jungle Book.

“After Daboo, another baby black bear was rescued and handed over to IWMB, the ‘dancing bear’ of Gujranwala. His name is Baloo and he’s a bit older than Daboo. He arrived early this morning,” Ms Khan said.

Punjab Wildlife dept seized animal from village near Gujranwala

“Baloo was recently sighted on Nowshera Road in Gujranwala and we immediately contacted Punjab Wildlife and they investigated and seized the baby black bear from a village near Gujranwala. They are now investigating the madaris/poachers’ ring that was responsible for kidnapping Baloo and forcing him into bear dancing,” Ms Khan said, adding that the IWMB wanted to start a system to look after rescued animals that were threatened due to loss of their habitat.

“Let’s together put an end to the cruel and vicious practice of bear dancing and bear baiting. Punjab is the only province where licences are issued to keep bears and monkeys as pets. All other provinces have declared it illegal,” she said.

According to a notification seen by Dawn, the Punjab government had recommended a ban on private possession of bears and monkeys. However, the cabinet is yet to approve the ban and a notification in this regard has not been issued till date. In Punjab, there are 116 bears in private possession.

While Daboo’s clipped ears were growing back and it stood a chance to return into the wild after some training, Baloo would have to be transferred to a sanctuary later, where it would likely spend the remainder of its years.

Rina Saeed said: “We desperately need to build a proper animal rescue centre, which was why we were pushing the civic agency to allow us to develop a rescue and awareness centre at Islamabad Zoo.”

She also pointed out that it was the direction of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) not to use animals for entertainment. She also asked residents to report to authorities in case they saw dancing monkeys in the streets.

Published in Dawn, July 21st, 2021

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