Sloth bear rescued from well after 11 hours

Sloth bear rescued from well after 11 hours

Sloth bear rescued from well after 11 hours

A sloth bear, which fell into a well on a farm field near Ramanagaram, about 50 km west of Bengaluru, early on Sunday morning, was rescued in an 11-hour operation carried out by forest officials.

The challenge before the staffers was to rescue the petrified animal as well as manage the inquisitive crowd. A forest official said, “At 6 am, we received information that a sloth bear had fallen into the well located on a private land in Chowdeshwarihalli near Kootkal minor forest in Ramanagaram.”

The well is in a private agricultural field which has mango, jackfruit and coconut trees. The well is located about two kilometres from the forest boundary. “We rushed to the spot and found the whole field teeming with local residents. The animal, aged about two, was struggling to come out of the well. It looked tired and scared. The bear must have strayed out of the forest in search of food and water at night and accidentally fallen into the well. Pug parks of the mother and sloth bear cubs were also seen around,” the forest official said.

Since Ramanagaram has a significant population of sloth bears, there have been cases in the past where animals have fallen into wells and climbed up by ladder. Taking a cue from previous incidents, forest officials lowered a ladder into the well while the police kept villagers 500 metres away from the well. Everyone waited till 3 pm but the sloth bear didn’t climb up.

In the meantime, veterinarians and darters from Bannerghatta Wildlife SOS were called to the spot. “As the animal did not climb out, we decided to drain the well and dart the animal. But just as forest officials got busy arranging for pump sets and motors and veterinarians were getting ready to dart the bear, a forest official suggested using the net to fish out the animal.

Local residents and officials then arranged for a large fishing net. They tied four sides of the net to the wall of the well and dipped it. The disturbed sloth bear jumped onto the net and was pulled out. “As soon as the animal landed up, it sprang up and ran into the forest. The operation ended around 5 pm. It took us long because of crowd management. Everybody was curious and the animal was scared,” the official said.

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