Two bear cubs saved from forest fire

Rescue: Two Asian black bear cubs were saved from a forest fire at the Kamichu area in Daga gewog, Wangdue that had been burning since the afternoon of March 22.

Lham Tshering, forest ranger with the Kamichu beat office said he spotted the two cubs while they were fighting the forest fire behind the gewog office in Kamichu at around 11am, yesterday.

Forest officials and police rescued the cubs. The two cubs were following their mother. While the mother managed to escape the fire, the two cubs were left back after they suffered minor injuries. Lham Tshering said the cubs are around three days to one week old.  The two cubs have been taken to the wild-rehab centre at the Wangdue forest division in Lobesa. “We are feeding them and treating the two at the rehab centre,” said Chencho Dendup, section head of forest protection and enforcement of the Wangdue division.

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The bear cubs will be released once they recover and once the forest fire at Kamichu is contained, said forest officials.

Chencho Dendup said the forest fire in Kamichu has not just destroyed hundreds of acres of forest but also burnt down an eight-hectare plantation of chirpine and cypress at Dogarthang.  Punatsangchhu and forest officials established the plantation, last year.

He said the forest fire that started at around 3:30pm on March 22 was initially contained, but due to strong winds towards the evening it reignited and spread across the rugged terrain behind the beat office in Kamichu. The dry grasses and difficult terrains have become an additional challenge for them, said Chencho Dendup.

The cause of fire is still unknown.

Meanwhile, army, police, the Punatsangchhu fire section, forest and  local government officials, dzongkhag staff, Desuups and other volunteers are involved in fighting the fire.

Dawa Gyelmo, Wangdue

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