Forest minister seeks report on botched bear rescue
Kerala forest minister AK Saseendran on Friday sought a report after a sloth bear trapped in a well died on Thursday during rescue operations in Vellandu village.
Kerala forest minister AK Saseendran on Friday sought a report from the chief wildlife warden of the state after a sloth bear trapped in a well died on Thursday during rescue operations in Vellandu village, about 20km from the state capital.
The incident has invited sharp criticism from animal lovers.
The bear was spotted hanging on the rings of the deep well by K Aravind on Wednesday night after he heard commotion outside his house. He alerted the forest officials.
Rescue operations went awry on Thursday after the animal was darted and netted. The bear slipped out of the net due to its weight and the drowsy animal plunged to the bottom and drowned.
Animal lovers said, the animal could have been easily saved by either pumping water out or putting a ladder in the well.
After outbursts from many quarters the forest minister on Friday sought a report from the chief wildlife warden. “It was not intentional, and our people tried their best to save it, but in the end a freak incident led to the animal’s death. It is really unfortunate. If there was callousness in rescue operation we will take action,” said the minister.
However, the animal lovers said, it was beyond common sense to dart an animal trapped in water.
A veterinary official tranquilised the animal without any second thought which took the life of a healthy animal, weighing more than 210 kg, they added.
“It is a major goof-up and the officials responsible for this should be punished. Kerala has the worst forest department in the country. Officials’ inept handling led to this death and accountability should be fixed,” BJP MP and animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi told a news channel.
The People for Animals, an animal welfare organisation, said it will move the high court seeking action against the forest officials responsible for the bear’s death.
The PFA said “casual and inept handling” led to the animal’s death.