Another sloth bear dies at Bannerghatta

Another sloth bear dies at Bannerghatta

Another sloth bear succumbed to tuberculosis at the Bear Rescue and Rehabilitation Center (BRRC) located inside the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) early on Sunday, taking the toll to four in the last three months.

Kanishk, the 15-year-old bear was being treated for suspected human tuberculosis (micro bacterium) for the past five months and died of infection. Kanishk was rescued in Chhattisgarh in August 2010 from the Kalandars, a tribe which catches and domesticates bears.

According to Dr Arun A Sha, the wildlife veterinarian at the Centre, the post mortem of the bear showed a choked lung with solidified phlegm.

“Kanishk had stopped eating for the past four days before his death. The bear was in very bad condition and died due to respiratory arrest,” he said. Four other bears, Aman, Kalinga, Chanakya and Danny are also in a critical state.

A few bears, including Abhimanyu and Bheema, have erratic eating habits, said Dr Sha. These bears are fed ragi porridge and milk along with general antibiotic and anti-inflammatory vitamins, minerals and B-complex tablets.

TB poses challenge

Since no prominent symptoms of TB  are identified in bears, it is only after their death that vets are able to conclude the cause. As there are no stipulated testing kits to diagnose TB in bears, BRRC made an effort to use elephant testing kits, but were unable to diagnose bears with them.

The Institute of Animal Health and Veterinary Biologicals, Hebbal, has collected samples from 25 bears at the rescue centre to conduct rapid polymerase chain reaction tests to ascertain if they suffer from tuberculosis.