'India's oldest' sloth bear in captivity dies at 36 in Bhopal zoo

This bear named ‘Bablu’ was the oldest one in captivity in the country at present, an office-bearer of a non-government organisation that runs a bear rescue centre at the zoo said

Updated - January 06, 2024 08:55 am IST

Published - January 06, 2024 08:30 am IST - Bhopal

Undated photo of sloth bear ‘Bablu’ at Van Vihar National Park, in Bhopal.

Undated photo of sloth bear ‘Bablu’ at Van Vihar National Park, in Bhopal. | Photo Credit: PTI

A 36-year-old male sloth bear died due to multi-organ failure at a zoo-cum-animal rescue centre in Madhya Pradesh capital Bhopal, an official said on January 5.

This bear named “Bablu” was the oldest one in captivity in the country at present, an office-bearer of a non-government organisation that runs a bear rescue centre at the zoo said.

"Bablu died on Thursday at the Van Vihar National Park-cum-animal rescue and rehabilitation centre," its veterinarian Dr. Atul Gupta told PTI.

The bear had stopped eating three to four days back, he added.

“Bablu” had been brought to the Van Vihar on May 6, 2006 at the age of 19 years after being rescued from a ‘madaari’ (street performer) in Rajasthan, the facility’s assistant director S. K. Sinha said.

The average lifespan of a bear is 25 to 30 in the wild, he added.

Also read | Indian zoos: just a stamp collection?

Non-government organisation Wildlife SOS' press and communication officer Neel Banerjee said that after the death of female bear Gulabo at the age of 40 at the Van Vihar National Park in January 2022, Bablu was the oldest bear in the country (in captivity).

"Bablu died at our Bear Rescue Facility in Van Vihar," he said, adding that his NGO works for rescue to elephants, bears and leopards across India.

After the post-mortem, Bablu’s carcass was disposed of. His important body parts have been sent to Jabalpur-based Wildlife Forensic and Health.

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