5 min read

Baby Bear Stuck In A Poacher's Trap Gets Help From The Nicest People

After they fixed him up, they helped him reunite with his mom <span class="emoji-outer emoji-sizer"><span class="emoji-inner" style="background: url(chrome-extension://immhpnclomdloikkpcefncmfgjbkojmh/emoji-data/sheet_apple_64.png);background-position:6.25% 62.50000000000001%;background-size:4900%" data-codepoints="2764"></span></span>

The young sloth bear was panicked and terrified. The barbed wire of a snare had tightened itself around his front leg — and no matter how hard he tried, the bear couldn’t untangle himself.

“The young bear was quite distressed and struggling to free himself,” Kartick Satyanarayan, cofounder and CEO of Wildlife SOS, an organization that rescues and rehabilitates wildlife in India, told The Dodo. “He had a snare wrapped tightly around his leg. To make matters worse, he was entangled in a barbed wire fence for nearly eight hours.”

Sloth bear trapped in poacher's trap
Wildlife SOS

Thankfully, local farmers spotted the sloth bear, who is estimated to only be about 10 months old — and they did the right thing. They alerted the local forestry department in Karnataka, India, and the forestry department got in touch with Wildlife SOS. A rescue team hurried to help the young bear.

“In an attempt to break free, the bear had been struggling for hours, causing swelling in the leg forelimb from the snare, and had sustained scratches from the wires,” Satyanarayan said. “He was also bleeding from the mouth as a result of gnawing on the barbed wires.”

Baby sloth bear caught in snare
WIldlife SOS

While he was pretty scratched up, the sloth bear hadn’t sustained any serious injuries, and the team managed to treat him at the scene without having to take him back to a rescue center for further rehabilitation.

While it’s not known how the sloth bear got caught in the snare in the first place, it’s likely that he was just looking for food.

People helping baby sloth bear on blanket
The rescue team giving the baby sloth bear medical treatment | Wildlife SOS

Sloth bears typically eat insects, fruits and flowers in the forest. But these food sources are under threat as people cut down forests to harvest wood and excavate the ground for minerals. As a result, sloth bears will venture onto plantations where people grow berries and other fruits — and this can lead to trouble.

“To prevent them from consuming and damaging their crops, farmers often lay down barbed wire fences around their plantations,” Satyanarayan said. “Consequently, poachers use this as a means to get easy access to wild animals by strategically placing snares and traps around these areas.”

Rescuers holding up the injured paws of a rescued cloth bear
Wildlife SOS

Thankfully, rescuers managed to save the bear before he fell into the hands of a poacher. What’s more, the baby sloth bear was able to reunite with his mom.

“The mother bear was sighted in the vicinity, but due to human intervention was not able to come near to the cub,” Satyanarayan said. “Thus, after rescuing and treating the cub, he was released back into the same area so he could make his way back to his mother.”

Baby sloth bear after being treated
The baby sloth bear after receiving medical treatment | Wildlife SOS

While this sloth bear was lucky to be rescued, others aren’t so lucky.

“Barbed wires and snares are one of the cruelest human-created threats to wildlife, and it is distressing to imagine the millions of animals that fall victim to these barbaric traps every year in India,” Satyanarayan said. “Only a small percentage of these animals survive the horrors of these deadly traps and the deaths of a majority of these victims of poaching go undocumented.”

To help sloth bears — as well as moon bears, elephants, leopards and other animals — you can make a donation to Wildlife SOS.