Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Bear cub rescued from hunter in Laos

Moon bear cub rescue in Laos highlights growing threats to Southeast Asia's bears
July 2012. A young male Moon bear cub, thought to be just five months old, arrived at Free the Bears' Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre in the early hours of 13th June after a dramatic rescue by Lao forestry officials. The cub, which has since been named Kobe, is the 26th bear to arrive at the rescue centre since it was established in 2003, and the first bear to be rescued in 2012.
Mother killed
Forest Guards in Muang Meung district were alerted by the news that a hunter had shot and killed a female bear in the Nam Kan National Protected Area, close to the village of Hoy Tak. A team of three men were instantly dispatched to investigate and detain the hunter, however when they reached the village they discovered that a live cub had been captured and was being hidden in the forest. Following a 2-day stake-out of the village, the terrified cub was finally recovered in an ambush, although the hunter managed to flee into the forest to evade arrest.
Traders tried to buy the cub
Returning to the provincial capital of Houay Xai, plans were made to transfer the bear cub to the Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre in Luang Prabang province. Whilst awaiting transportation permits Forest Guards were approached several times by local wildlife traders seeking to purchase the cub to sell into a bear bile farm in Laos or neighbouring Vietnam. Some even offered a higher price if the cub was sold with paperwork authorising its transportation! Fortunately these offers were all rebuffed and following a 12-hour journey over mountainous roads the cub finally reached the Free the Bears-supported sanctuary at 4am. He is now being cared for by Free the Bears staff, receiving around-the-clock feeds and recovering from his ordeal.

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