After hearing painful cries form his property, one man decided to come to the rescue.
Leaving his house, the man searched until he discovered a 40-foot well nearby the forest.
The source of the cries?
A sloth bear.
He was lying on the dirt floor of the well, alone and scared.
The man quickly called the local forestry department in Tumkur, India, which then called upon rescue group Wildlife SOS for assistance.
A team soon was dispatched and came to the bear’s aid.
“The bear looked really scared and shaken as he was in an unfamiliar environment and could also sense a huge crowd gathered outside the well,” said communications and fundraising officer for Wildlife SOS, Suvidha Bhatnagar, shared with The Dodo. “We could only calm the bear down once the well was covered with a piece of tarpaulin.”
The bear most likely fell into the well while trying to eat honeycomb nearby the well’s edge.
He estimated to be around 10 to 15 years old.
Sloth bears are having a more difficult time as of late to find food as people tear down forests to build either houses or farms.
While the rescue team decided to sedate the bear mildly, they then draped a net around him and hauled him up to safely.
The bear thankfully did not have any major injuries.
“This was the most rewarding part of the rescue because the bear was safe and unhurt,” Bhatnagar shared. “We weren’t surprised that the bear wasn’t severely injured because usually when bears fall from a height, they curl their whole body into a ball, which ensures minimum damage. Also, the mud flooring in the well helped avoid major injuries.”
The rescue team has since released him back into the forest, as the bear proved to be in good health.
“At first, the bear couldn’t comprehend what is happening, but seconds later he ran into the forest looking quite relieved and ecstatic,” Bhatnagar shared.
And while this particular bear was lucky to not have any injuries from the fall — India proves to have a huge issue with is wells and animals falling prey to them.
Not just sloth bears but also leopards as well as other animals fall into them on a regular basis.
“There has been a significant increase in such occurrences,” director of veterinary operations at Wildlife SOS, Arun A Sha, said in a statement. “Uncovered wells pose a huge risk to safety of people and animals. Wildlife SOS urges people to cover open wells, to avoid such accidents.”
“Our team has been conducting awareness programs across the villages to educate the local farming communities and to increase tolerance for coexistence with wildlife,” Bhatnagar said. “We have started to take measures to cover or fence off the wells, or even construct safety walls so that people and wild animals are not further jeopardized.”
If you would like to have a hand in helping protect wildlife from falling into wells in India, you can click here to sign a petition which asks local authorities to cover all wells.
You can also help by rescuing leopards as well as sloth bears like this one by making a donation to Wildlife SOS.
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