Tamil Nadu

Sloth bear falls into farm well, rescued

The operation to get the sloth bear out of the open farm well into which it fell at Singikulam near Kalakkad in Tirunelveli district lasted for about one and a half hours.  

TIRUNELVELI

After struggling for more than four hours, Forest Department employees attached to Kalakkad–Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve’s Kalakkad Division rescued a sloth bear that accidentally fell into an open farm well with a short parapet at Singikulam near Kalakkad in the district on Monday morning.

The bear, which is believed to be one among the eight that were living in a hillock between Singikulam and the reserve forest of the Western Ghats, fell into the well dug amidst paddy fields. After five of the sloth bears were translocated on various occasions in the past whenever they strayed into the fields, three bears are apparently living in the caves in the hillock.

When passers-by noticed the animal struggling to stay afloat in the water, they alerted forest officials. The 20-foot-deep well had water for about 13 feet following good northeast monsoon rainfall.

Led by Deputy Director (in-charge) of KMTR’s Kalakkad Range M. Elango, the forest personnel from Kalakkad and Thirukkurunkudi ranges commenced the rescue operation around 10 a.m.

They decided to not tranquillise the animal as it could lead to its drowning. When they tried to catch the animal with a net, the bear thwarted their repeated attempts.

As the rescue team lowered an opened cage with ripened palmyrah fruits inside to the surface of the water to lure the bear, it held the iron rods of the cage and jumped atop the 5-foot-tall cage to easily come out of the well even as the curious villagers and forest personnel ran helter-skelter around 11.30 a.m.

Without injuring anyone, the bear started to run away even as forest veterinarian Manoharan fired the first tranquilliser shot at it. The fully grown animal was found unconscious inside bushes some 300 metres away later.

After mildly tranquillising it again around 1.30 p.m., the forest personnel took the bear to Sengaltheri, 19 km away from Kalakkad, and freed it into the forest around 4.30 p.m.

Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 7:03:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/sloth-bear-falls-into-farm-well-rescued-tirunelveli-kalakkadu/article33162842.ece

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