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Surrogate mother takes bear cubs on a walk

By The Assam Tribune
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ITANAGAR, April 23 � Taking out pet animals on a walk is commonplace but ever fancied taking a bear cub out on a walk in the woods?

Debahutee Roy is one such animal keeper in Arunachal Pradesh whose job is to take caged bear cubs out on long walks so that the omnivorous animal acclimatises itself to wilderness of the jungle before being set free.

In a creche-like environment, Asiatic black bear cubs are hand-raised and bottle-fed at the Centre for Bear Rehabilitation and Conservation in Pakke Tiger Reserve.

Bizoo is one such orphan who lost his parents to ruthless hunters.

Roy, a wildlife biologist with the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), acts as his surrogate mother and takes him out on day-long walks to show him how life looks like in the forest.

Initially reluctant to leave the secured environs of his caged home, Bizoo ran to the nearby river and started to swim on his first excursion.

�He got himself dirty in the mud, got back into the river and ran around like there was no tomorrow. He would climb trees, dig earth and his actions were quite similar to that of a child who has just learnt to walk,� says the caretaker.

Along with a veterinary doctor, she spends a fun time playing hide and seek with the furry animal looking for food with its long snout. Just like humans, it has the ability to stand on its two legs.

It is during this period that the intelligent creature also learns how to catch fish for food. �It begins by catching insects, beetles and then realises it can also catch fish. The cub also hones other skills necessary for independent survival in the wild,� NVK Ashraf, in-charge of the bear rehab centre said.

The soft release method using �walk the bear� technique gives the bear cubs a longer acclimatisation period at the site of their future home by lessening their overall time in captivity.

Classified as a vulnerable species by the IUCN, bears are facing threat due to to poaching and habitat loss.

After seven to eight months of regular excursions when the cubs become capable of foraging and avoiding predators, they are set free in their new home with a radio-collar device placed on their neck.

�We do post-release monitoring for about six months. We have seen 85 per cent success in bears which were radio-collared,� the expert says. � PTI

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Surrogate mother takes bear cubs on a walk

ITANAGAR, April 23 � Taking out pet animals on a walk is commonplace but ever fancied taking a bear cub out on a walk in the woods?

Debahutee Roy is one such animal keeper in Arunachal Pradesh whose job is to take caged bear cubs out on long walks so that the omnivorous animal acclimatises itself to wilderness of the jungle before being set free.

In a creche-like environment, Asiatic black bear cubs are hand-raised and bottle-fed at the Centre for Bear Rehabilitation and Conservation in Pakke Tiger Reserve.

Bizoo is one such orphan who lost his parents to ruthless hunters.

Roy, a wildlife biologist with the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), acts as his surrogate mother and takes him out on day-long walks to show him how life looks like in the forest.

Initially reluctant to leave the secured environs of his caged home, Bizoo ran to the nearby river and started to swim on his first excursion.

�He got himself dirty in the mud, got back into the river and ran around like there was no tomorrow. He would climb trees, dig earth and his actions were quite similar to that of a child who has just learnt to walk,� says the caretaker.

Along with a veterinary doctor, she spends a fun time playing hide and seek with the furry animal looking for food with its long snout. Just like humans, it has the ability to stand on its two legs.

It is during this period that the intelligent creature also learns how to catch fish for food. �It begins by catching insects, beetles and then realises it can also catch fish. The cub also hones other skills necessary for independent survival in the wild,� NVK Ashraf, in-charge of the bear rehab centre said.

The soft release method using �walk the bear� technique gives the bear cubs a longer acclimatisation period at the site of their future home by lessening their overall time in captivity.

Classified as a vulnerable species by the IUCN, bears are facing threat due to to poaching and habitat loss.

After seven to eight months of regular excursions when the cubs become capable of foraging and avoiding predators, they are set free in their new home with a radio-collar device placed on their neck.

�We do post-release monitoring for about six months. We have seen 85 per cent success in bears which were radio-collared,� the expert says. � PTI