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Bear caught, brought to Thimphu for rehabilitation

Wildlife: A female Himalayan Black Bear, weighing 55kgs, that terrorised two poultry farms in Khatoe gewog, Gasa has been caught and brought to Thimphu for rehabilitation.

Forest officials usually release such trapped bears in another area within the park. “Since she is old, she will be sent to the rehab in Thimphu,” Jigme Dorji National Park (JDNP) officiating manager Namgay said.

In the first incident, the bear broke a fence of Pasang Dorji’s poultry farm in Dakapangchu village, Khatoe gewog of Gasa on the night of January 14 and ate a chicken before the villagers were able to chase it away. On the second night she killed and ate a rooster.

A forester sets up a trap at a poultry farm
A forester sets up a trap at a poultry farm

The bear avoided the three traps set up by forest officials at the farm. On the third night, she targeted a neighbouring farm belonging to Sangay Dorji after foresters and policemen stood guard at Pasang Dorji’s farm and fired blank shots. She killed and ate three chickens.

Foresters including the rescue team from the wildlife conservation division from Thimphu set up 10 more traps at the second house.

Park officials said that the bear hid in the nearby forest when they stood guard. It turned up at around 7pm and waited until the lights were out. One time it returned and entered the farm in the early morning.

The bear entered another house and ate cattle fodder and some leftover fruits from the annual ritual.

“I don’t know if we’re eligible for compensation,” Sangay Dorji said. “Luckily it was an old bear so it didn’t harm people.”

The village is located near the Punakha-Gasa highway in thick forests, after crossing Zame Zam.

Human settlements within JDNP encounter such human wildlife conflicts mostly in winter between October and March.

Himalayan Black Bears, besides tigers and leopards are among the top predators coming into conflict with livestock and crops in the country.

Tshering Palden

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