"In retaliation, people set snares for wildlife and trap all kinds of unwitting victims such as pigs, deer and, as in this case, wild sloth bears," she explained. "Whatever the animal, the poachers eat them as bushmeat."
Sloth bears are also commonly used as "dancing bears" for human entertainment - or for the cruel practice of bear baiting, where people make dogs attack bears to make the dogs more aggressive.
"Had the mother and baby bear not been discovered [by the rescuers], it's likely the poachers would have eaten the dead female and perhaps taken the baby to sell on for baiting or bear dancing over the border in Nepal, where the laws are more lax," Key said. "Bears are also vulnerable to being caught for their body parts for use in traditional medicine."