Chat Archives
Chat on "Bear Conservation nad Protection" dated June 18, 2007

     

    Members in the chat room

     

     

    1. Sloth Bear
    2. Esskay
    3. Just_surfing
    4. Susan
    5. Vasudha

     

     

    Excerpts:

     

    Sloth Bear  The Sloth Bear is used by Kalandar Communities in India for bear dancing, However the Kalandar communities in Pakistan also use the

    Himalayan Black Bear for Dancing as well as Bear Baiting practices 

    ……………………………

    Sloth Bear  Yes - it is possible that there could have been such brutal sports in Europe as well. Eastern Europe to this day has Dancing Bears. …..

    ………………..

    Esskay  But then Europe is far more aware. The last issue of RD in fact carried an article on how a whole town got together to bid good bye when two of its last dancing bears were being released into wilderness  ….

    ……………………

    Vasudha  Esskay, releasing animals back into the wild is I think a scientific process that is to be done with careful thought and planning  ………….

    …………………..

    Susan  The line between animal conservation and animal rights is blurred  ………………

    …………………………

     

    Sloth Bear  Also we could make a copy of the Video "The Last Dance" available for your members if they would be interested. ……………

    …………………………..

    Read on ……..

     

     

     

     

    Sloth Bear  hi this is kartick 

    Susan  Welcome to Iwc Chat on "Bear Conservation and Protection" 

    Susan  Welcome Kartck! 

    Susan  Welcome Vasudha,

    Susan  What are the species commonly found in India? Are they all endangered? 

    Sloth Bear  four species of bears in India 

    Sloth Bear  Sloth Bear Himalayan Black Bear Also known as Asiatic Black bear or Moon Bear 

    Sloth Bear  Himalayan Brown Bear & the Sun Bear 

     

    Susan  Is it only the sloth bear that is used by Qalandars for dancing 

    Susan  Sloth bears are the more common ones may be? 

    Sloth Bear  The Sloth Bear is used by Kalandar Communities in India for bear dancing, However the Kalandar communities in Pakistan also use the

    Himalayan Black Bear for Dancing as well as Bear Baiting practices 

    Sloth Bear  Thankfully we do not have the practice of Bear Baiting in India ! 

    Susan  What is bear baiting?

    Sloth Bear  Bear Baiting is a very cruel blood sport 

    Sloth Bear  Bear Baiting is actually a gambling sport which involves staking out a bear which is muzzled 

     

    Sloth Bear  The Bear's teeth are knocked out with metal rods, the claws are cut off and then they are staked and pitted against fierce fighting dogs in an arena 

    Sloth Bear  The dogs are extremely aggressive pit bulls trained to fight and are released in pairs 

    Sloth Bear  The Bear is staked to the ground on a short chain with a ring or a rope that goes through its delicate muzzle making the process even more excruciatingly painful. The dogs attack the Bear from all sides while the owners watch gleefully.

     

    Susan  That is gruesome. Why is bear protection vital for our forests? A forest guard in J&K once told me, he believes the Black bear helps regenerate the Dachigam forests 

    Vasudha  Has Bear baiting been declared illegal in Pakistan? 

    Sloth Bear  The Bear howls in pain each time the dogs grab on to his delicate muzzle or his face, mouth or ears and the crowd shouts and claps in happiness and cheer the dogs on 

    Sloth Bear  Sometimes the bear's sheer determination to defend himself actually results in the dogs getting injured 

    Sloth Bear  At such times the dog owners rush in and rescue their dogs and then two new fresh dogs are reintroduced into the arena to take on the now tired and exhausted bear 

    Sloth Bear  Yes Bear baiting has been declared illegal in Pakistan but goes on clandestinely in the North West Frontier Province where law enforcement is a challenge 

    Sloth Bear  This brutal game goes on until the bear is finally killed by the dogs or succumbs to exhaustion or severe loss of blood through bleeding from repeated attacks from the dogs 

     

    Susan  In Berene (Switzerland) there is a place called Bear pit. It is a bus stop in town and there is an ancient pit there- but no bears. Wonder if they used to have Bear Baiting there once upon a time? 

    Susan  I meant Berne

    Sloth Bear  Hope this has not ruined your appetite ! 

    Sloth Bear  Yes - it is possible that there could have been such brutal sports in Europe as well. Eastern Europe to this day has Dancing Bears.

    European Brown Bears are used by gypsies to entertain tourists. Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey have dancing Bears   

    Susan  Welcome Esskay 

    Sloth Bear  Even Greece had Dancing Bears until not very long ago 

    Sloth Bear  Not until very long ago our Indian dancing bears were being smuggled across to Pakistan for the Bear Baiting sport 

    Vasudha  Has the Govt. of Eastern European countries also declared practice of "Dancing Bears" illegal, like in India? 

    Susan  Would you say that these cruel past times are now restricted to India and Pakistan? 

    Sloth Bear  Yes, Governments in Europe also have banned these practices and yes Dancing Bears in India is a serious problem as it is rapidly depleting our bear population in the wild 

     

    Esskay  I think all of East Asia has had the practice of using a bear claw for good luck 

    Esskay  But then Europe is far more aware. The last issue of RD in fact carried an article on how a whole town got together to bid good bye when two of its last dancing bears were being released into wilderness 

    Sloth Bear  Not only do they use bear claws for good luck, they also use bear hair and teeth as good luck charms 

    Sloth Bear  Is this the latest issue of the RD that you refer to ? 

    Sloth Bear  I think this is Bulgaria you refer to and the bears i think were moved to a rescue center and not released in the wild. Dancing Bears once imprinted cannot be released in the wild as they would have lost their wild instincts and cannot survive on their own 

    Esskay  Yeah! Most stories I have read about bears relate to their attacks on people and of course how they become the sole earning members of whole clans 

    Susan  Giving an alternate income stream for the Kalanders is a big challenge I think 

    Sloth Bear  Esskay - i guess you are referring to wild bears attacking people due to serious conflict situations which are totally man made - depletion

    of forest cover, modification of habitat, poaching of their cubs etc bring them in direct confrontation with humans, people get attacked 

    Esskay  Hope the Rescue Center is an intermediate stop on way to wilderness but we need to build a strong case for letting them be for more reasons than the famous bahu or Prevention of cruelty 

    Sloth Bear  The Rescue Centre often becomes a permanent retirement home for such Dancing bears because they have been trained by people since they were little cubs. As baby bears they were poached from the wild, their mothers were killed by poachers, they were sold for a few hundred rupees to kalandars who then broke their teeth, cut their claws, put a hole through their delicate muzzle with a red hot iron rod and trained them to dance and entertain people using red hot coals 

    Esskay  Yeah but what are the alternate means of livelihood that we are providing to the kalandars 

     

    Sloth Bear  Now in normal circumstances the bear cubs would spend 18 to 14 months with their mother during which time they learn the art and the skills of survival in the wild which includes identifying threats 

    Esskay  Also what are reasons other than them being called cuddlies for which we should let them be in their environs 

    Susan  Are we using kalanders as tourist guides in any national parks? 

    Sloth Bear  Esskay - I am using a computer that i do not use everyday - so its taking me time to type on this keyboard pls bear with me 

    Sloth Bear  As I said cubs need to spend close to two years in the wild with their mother learning to use seasonal water holes, identifying which fruits to eat, and which fruits are poisonous and which aren’t. how to avoid man which is their biggest enemy 

    Sloth Bear  Now since the cubs are snatched away from their mother and trained and imprinted by humans they have obviously lost the opportunity to learn these skills of survival from their mother. 

    Sloth Bear  Also they have learnt that man is their provider who feeds them twice a day 

    Sloth Bear  Moreover they do not have teeth, claws and are not ready for survival in the wild. In these circumstances releasing them in the wild would only mean certain death for these cubs 

    Sloth Bear  Such imprinted animals if released could become problem or menace animals as they will go to the nearest village or human settlement expecting food as all their life they have only been fed by human beings. 

    Sloth Bear  If such an animal visited the village, the people there would obviously think that it is a wild bear and shoot it

    Esskay  Understand why they cant be released back but then some experiments with other animals seems to have succeeded post captive breeding 

    Susan  Are we doing enough to protect bears in the Wild? 

    Sloth Bear  To quickly answer Susan - Kalandars are used as keepers and staff in the Wildlife SOS Rescue Center 

    Vasudha  Esskay, releasing animals back into the wild is I think a scientific process that is to be done with careful thought and planning 

    Sloth Bear  Esskay - other animals such as snakes and predatory animals could be released if the correct precautions are taken during the captive breeding process where extreme caution must be exercised to ensure imprinting is avoided prior to any experiments or release 

    Vasudha  Bears stay with their mothers for too long a time and they are susceptible to being killed and attacked by predators like Tigers and Leopards 

     

    Sloth Bear  Susan - A lot more needs to be done to protect Bears in the wild.

    Susan  The line between animal conservation and animal rights is blurred 

    Sloth Bear  To top this list people need to be aware that bears are coming into conflict with people on an almost regular basis. Each week we hear of bear attacks  

    Sloth Bear  Thi is clearly a case of Bear conservation 

    Sloth Bear  The reason its a case of Bear conservation is because the Dancing Bear trade is creating a huge demand for poaching of Bear cubs 

    Esskay  Yeah but people cant just be left to fend for themselves. We need to convince why it is in their interest to support conservation 

    Sloth Bear  Bear cub poaching is depleting our wild bear population and will certainly affect the entire biodiversity system related to this 

    Susan  Yes, Kartick, the work you are doing is really very meaningful. 

    Sloth Bear  Esskay - you are Correct. That’s exactly what we at Wildlife SOS are doing 

    Vasudha  Like all animals, Bears have an important Ecological role to play 

    Sloth Bear  We are helping the Kalandar community fend for themselves 

    Esskay  Recently a Forester was recognised at the National level in India for having managed shifting some villages out of core area 

    Sloth Bear  We convince the Kalandars that they need to give up this practice and surrender their bears. 

    Sloth Bear  In return Wildlife SOS offers them rehabilitation support to help them establish an alternative livelihood 

    Susan  Wish more people were in the chat room But we will publish the talk we had on our website and hope more people will read it. 

    Sloth Bear  Please visit www.wildlifesos.org for more information 

     

    Sloth Bear  Also we could make a copy of the Video "The Last Dance" available for your members if they would be interested.

    Sloth Bear  Maybe Susan could put a link to www.wildlifesos.org from the indianwildlifeclub website for its members 

    Susan  it will be nice if you can upload the video or parts of it on “youtube” it will reach a wider audience The audience who pays to watch bear dancing and baiting perhaps 

    Sloth Bear  Thanks Susan - great idea. We can upload it after its been released on the Discovery Channel on 20 July 

    Susan  Kartick can you please send in a small write up, on wildlife SOS we can include it under our "NGOs". We will include the link too. 

    Susan  Just surfing, any questions? we are about to wind up 

    Sloth Bear  Thank you Susan - We shall send you this write up and a web link with some pictures by tomorrow 

    Susan  If there are no more questions shall we call it a day? 

    Sloth Bear  I think we can call it a day. Perhaps we can do some more specifics another day and publicise the chat a lot more 

    Susan  Thanks to all of you. Kartick, it was wonderful to get your inputs. Look forward to getting the write up soon. 

    Sloth Bear  Thank you Susan, Esskay and Vasudha. You will get the write up soon. 

    Esskay  Thankyou Kartick and IWC 

     

     

     

     

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