Black bear in sanctuary in Islamabad, Pakistan

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FOUR PAWS Mission to Help Bears in Pakistan

 Islamabad Wildlife Management Board reached out to FOUR PAWS for support with medical treatment and the planned rescue of Asian black bears

The Pakistani authorities, in collaboration with the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board, have approached FOUR PAWS for assistance in neutering eight Asian black bears that are currently housed at a rescue centre in order to prevent unwanted breeding. They have also sought support in modifying enclosures to make them suitable for the hopeful relocation of more black bear cubs, as ordered by the court in the Punjab region. This is due to the bears being subject to illegal bear baiting, dancing and breeding activities which violates their animal welfare standards. 

These cruel practices were initially introduced as a form of entertainment, but despite being condemned worldwide, sadly these practices still continue to exist in the Province of Punjab. Multiple incidents of bear baiting have been reported, and authorities have taken strict notice and initiated a crackdown against such cruel acts and to take legal action against the accused person under the Punjab Wildlife Act, 1974. 

Our ultimate goal is to work with the Pakistani authorities to finally end these illegal bear practices in the country and raise awareness about the issue of illegal bear dancing and bear baiting in Pakistan. 

Follow the timeline for updates on the emergency mission.

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*The images used on this page are symbolic images. As you read this, we are in Pakistan and travelling to the bears right now.

The Road to Rescue

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Sickly black bear in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Two bears saved from critical condition

We're thrilled to share the incredible news that our dedicated team in joint collaboration with IWMB rescue and the rehabilitation team saved two bears in critical condition. Despite facing challenging conditions including darkness and a lack of electricity, our team swiftly darted, vet-checked, and transported these bears to safety. 

Boogie, a resilient 7-year-old male bear, and Laila, a 5-year-old female bear, both bearing scars from their harrowing past as baiting bears. Their bodies tell stories of past fights, with ears bitten off and encounters with dogs leaving lasting marks. During the vet check, the removal of the nose rings, used to connect to leashes to control and handle them, marked a significant step towards a new beginning for them. Now with all their teeth gone, they'll require a special soft food diet for life and Boogie even underwent treatment for a missing eye. 
Yet, amidst the darkness, there's a glimmer of hope on the horizon. Boogie and Laila are now en route to Islamabad. A brighter future lies ahead for these bears, and we're dedicated to keeping you updated. Together, we're making a meaningful difference!

Emergency veterinary treatment of a black bear in Islamabad, Pakistan.

The bears have received urgent veterinary help

The FOUR PAWS team of veterinarians and wildlife experts in collaboration with the IWMB team have been taking care of all 8 bears over the past few days. They had to remove Anila's nose ring, the area was inflamed and she received antibiotics, which helped. Despite all the ordeals she has experienced, she is very calm, likes humans and lays on the back to welcome the team. Barfi underwent a life-saving dental procedure, she had severe problems with her teeth which made eating difficult due to her swollen face. Unfortunately, she also starts to dance when she sees humans and is quite stressed overall. Dr Frank Göritz from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research did an amazing job training the national vets. With his supervision they thoroughly vetted, castrated and cared for the other 6 male bears including ultrasound examinations, vaccinations, deworming, microchipping, claw trimming, and dental treatment. Their difficult past has certainly left its mark on them, but we are very pleased that they have been given a second chance at the Rescue Centre and that they can enjoy their lives even more after medical treatment.

Preparations are ongoing

In cooperation with the local wildlife authorities, our team are currently preparing the enclosures by making necessary adaptations to make them suitable in the hope that we will rescue and transport bear cubs. We hope they will go to the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre which currently houses the other eight black bears (two females and six males). It is crucial that we medically assess and sterilise all bears to prevent unwanted breeding at the rescue centre. This proactive measure underlines our strong commitment to ethical wildlife management.

Emergency veterinary treatment of a black bear in Islamabad, Pakistan.

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