Two more sloth bears die at Bannerghatta

The number of sloth bears that are rescued and sheltered in the Bear Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre (BRRC) at the Bannerghatta Biological Park, has dwindled to 86, from 100. Affected by tuberculosis, the disease has taken a toll of two more bears, Kusha (7) and Dinesh (15).

Kusha, that died on May 27, was critically ill and was being treated since March. The bear had developed erratic food habits and was kept in isolation at the rescue centre. It was rescued from the Kanakapura Range from a kalandar in 2007.

Dinesh was also critically ill and was under continuous treatment and observation since February. It died on June 1. It was rescued from a kalandar at Koppal in 2006. The visceral samples of the animals have been collected during post-mortem and have been sent to the laboratory for clinical analysis to know the exact cause of death.

Difficult to diagnose

Dr Arun A Sha, wildlife veterinary of the rescue centre, said that it was difficult to diagnose tuberculosis among the sloth bears. In the recent PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests conducted on the bears, 11 had tested positive to tuberculosis. But, Pooja, a 19-year-old sloth bear that had tested negative, was also showing symptoms of infection, with erratic food habits, he added.

“We are treating the animals, based on their symptoms and also based on the PCR test results. We are isolating all the animals as a precautionary measure and have kept them under constant observation,” Dr Arun said.

The tuberculosis in the animals has been identified as Mycobacterium Tuberculosis (MTB), also known as human tuberculosis. They might have contracted the infection during their stay with the kalandars and same might have manifested now, he added.
Tigress dead

Meanwhile, a 21-year-old tigress, Anu, died at the rescue centre in Bannerghatta Biological Park, due to age-related illness. Though the animal was under intensive care, it failed to respond and died on May 18.

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