Himalayan Black Bear Dies At Rehabilitation Centre

It is reported that she suffered a seizure when the Kabesa tiger was brought to the centre.

Haazam the Himalayan black bear died a day after the tiger arrived at the rehabilitation centre. (Source: Kuensel)


By Phurpha Lhamo | Kuensel

The wildlife rehabilitation centre in Taba, Thimphu lost 6-year-old Himalayan black bear, which was affectionately known as Haazam, on March 23.

It is reported that the bear died after the tiger, which was spotted in Kabesa, was brought to the centre.

Deputy chief forest officer, Kuenzang Gyeltshen, said that Haazam suffered a seizure after the tiger arrived. He said that the bear didn’t recover from the seizure and died the next day.

“The tiger was brought in on March 22 and she died on March 23. She couldn’t be revived from the shock. Other animals are silent and scared but they are coping well now.”

The centre houses a Samba deer, a monkey and two bears.

Weak After Losing A Paw

Haazam was first brought to the rehabilitation centre in 2015 from Haa. Injured while ensnared, she doesn’t have one of her paws, which makes it difficult for her to hunt.

Kuenzang Gyeltshen said that Haazam was weak, as the bear wasn’t feeding well.

“After losing her paw, she was not playful. We have a wooden box placed inside her enclosure and she is always in there.”

Haazam was one of the two bears who were to be at the centre for the rest of their lives. The other bear, Nakar, is 10 months old.

The wildlife rehabilitation centre provides treatment and care to the injured, orphaned, or sick wild animals so that they can be released into the wild after treatment. For animals unable to live in the normal habitat, they are kept at the centre.

Verifying For Canine Distemper

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that the tiger spotted at Kabesa is a male. Forest officials said that when the animal was first examined, it was mistaken as a female. Samples to verify a canine distemper disease was also sent to Thailand on March 30. The centre is still waiting for the report to confirm the disease.

Foresters said that on March 31, the Zhung Dratshang also conducted a kurim for quick recovery of the endangered species.

The tiger is currently placed in an enclosure few meters from the bears. The rehabilitation centre is about 13m by 10m in space.

New Rehab Centre For Animals 

Kuenzang Gyeltshen said the centre is currently working on building a new rehabilitation centre for animals that will remain permanently at the centre.

He added that earlier, the centre had identified few acres of land near Semtokha, which proved unsuitable due to its gradient.

“The ministry has identified land at Kabesa and we are yet to see if the area is suitable.”

The centre is also looking for funds to build the new rehabilitation centre.

A rehabilitation centre at Gelephu does not have enclosures for carnivores. Today, all four enclosures at the centre are occupied.

Kuenzang Gyeltshen said that the centre’s proposal for new rehabilitation centre was not prioritised in the past.

He added that although there weren’t similar incidents in the past, the need for a rehabilitation was recognised by the centre.

“Bhutan receives donations and funding for our environment and conservation activities. But unfortunately activities with visible outcome have been prioritised today.”

Life Expectancy Of 15-20 Years

A Himalayan black bear has a life expectancy of 15 years in the wild and about 20 years in captivity. In some countries, they live up to 25 year in captivity.

“Captive life expectancy in the country is less because we lack the required facilities for animals,” Kuenzang Gyeltshen said.

Bengal tigers have a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years in the wild.


This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for the new Bhutan Times.

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