An Asiatic black bear died after being dropped from the helicopter transporting it to freedom earlier this year because the pilot feared they would crash into a cliff, a Thai newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Khao Sod English quoted a ministry of natural resources and environment investigator as saying that human error and an unauthorised flight plan caused the death of the bear, who was on the way to be released in the Khao Yai National Park in February after spending a decade in wildlife rehabilitation.
“The pilot admitted to unhooking the bear hanging from the helicopter because they were approaching a cliff and needed to lessen the load. If they hadn’t, they would have crashed into the cliff,” Adisorn Nuchdamrong told the newspaper.
He added that national park flight officials did not obtain necessary authorisation to fly the bear, and did not file a flight plan detailing all the people who would be on board – including a reporter.
Under wildlife rehabilitation injured, orphaned, or sick animals are treated and taken care of so that they can be released back to the wild.
Asiatic black bears have been classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), mostly because of deforestation and hunting for its body parts.