A team from the nature conservation division’s (NCD) wildlife rescue and animal health section rescued two male Himalayan black bears on September 3.
According to the deputy chief forest officer, Kuenzang Gyeltshen, the two bears, one near an apple orchard at Rinchending in Paro and the other at Dechencholing Goenpa in Thimphu, were found ensnared around 12:30PM and 2AM on September 2 and 3.
He said that the bears were entangled in snares laid for prevention of pests and weighed 140kg and 143 kg respectively. “We rescued them and released them on September 3.”
The deputy chief forest officer said that including the two bears, they rescued five bears this year. “From 2011 until yesterday, we rescued 68 bears.”
Kuenzang Gyeltshen said that most of the incidences are reported when bears come near kitchen gardens and orchards.
He said that the number of human-bear conflict cases has been fluctuating over the years although it has been increasing. “We are not sure whether more numbers of wild animals are found because of strict conservation rules or because of the growth of human settlement.”
He said that in order to minimise such cases, awareness programmes in the form of documentary videos of handling wildlife and their rescue are being broadcast on television periodically.
The deputy chief forest officer said that temporary mitigation measures such as electric fencing and solar fencing are used especially in the southern parts in the country.
He said that to manage such conflicts, forest officials plan on planting wild fruits and trees for wild animals in their natural habitat. “If food is easily available in the natural habitat animals wouldn’t come near human settlements.”
Kuenzang Gyeltshen said some food for bears are mushroom, canes, ferns, insects and wild fruits among others.
Meanwhile, according to the standard operating procedure (SOP) for reporting of straying wild animals, any individual can report to the nearest forest office, forester or the rescue team.
Forest officials said that the wildlife rescue team based in Thimphu will provide technical assistance for any wildlife rescue operation in the country.
It was learnt that severely injured animals are brought to the wildlife clinic at Taba for treatment and recovery.
Kuenzang Gyeltshen said that in the enclosure near the office, there are two adult bears and a cub. “Two would be kept permanently and the cub would be released.”
He said that some of the rescued animals are collared with global positioning system (GPS) to study their movement pattern and released in the forest.
According to the wildlife rescue and animal health section, wild animals are also displaced due to stray dogs. It stated that animals are chased towards human settlements due to attack by stray dogs. Bears are mostly rescued from places such as Thimphu, Paro, Chhukha, Haa, Bumthang and Wangdue.
Foresters rescued 122 sambar and barking deer in Thimphu city alone in the past six years.