HYDERABAD: The rescue and release of a bear by the Nehru Zoological Park has landed them in a controversy with animal welfare activists crying foul and alleging violation of norms. Mahesh Agarwal, member of the People for Animals, shot off a letter on Tuesday to the Central Zoo Authority demanding action against the zoo officials for not keeping the rescued bear under observation before releasing it into the forest. “Any wild animal, which is tranquillised and rescued, has to be kept under observation for a minimum of five to seven days as the chemical of tranquilliser affects body cells and organs of the animal,” he said.
According to him, sometimes the tranquilliser if not given in proper doses could lead to the death of an animal even after three days. “Though the animal seems active and healthy one day after being tranquillised, it might get health problems after two days. Now, the freed bear may die in the forest in a week. Who will be responsible for that? he asked.
Dr MA Hakeem, veterinary doctor at the Nehru zoo who tranquillised the young bear and gave further treatment, however, felt the fears were unfounded. “The bear was over 100 kg in weight, healthy and energetic. I have never seen such a muscular and perfect Indian young bear. As it was clearly healthy enough, it was freed in Medak district on Monday evening,” he explained.
The bear was fed milk, bread, potatoes and medicine at the Nehru zoo. The zoo officials had rescued the four-and-a-half-year old male wild bear in Shamirpet in Ranga Reddy district on Sunday and freed it in Yellareddyguda forest area in Medak district.
According to the forest department records, there are about 2,450 bears in the state forests. They are mainly in Medak, Karimnagar, Nalgonda, Warangal and Adilabad districts.