Protected bear to share living quarters with giant pandas

Updated 2018-02-27 11:40:01 China Daily

A rescued Asian black bear adjusts to at an animal rehabilitation center in Heilongjiang province earlier this month.

After a month of careful nursing, an Asian black bear that was rescued by wild animal protection volunteers and police in Tieli, Heilongjiang province, is recovering well at the Heilongjiang Endangered Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center and will be sent to the Yabuli giant panda habitat at Yabuli Ski Resort in the province next week.

The bear will join two giant pandas already at the resort.

On Jan 17, Tieli police received a report that people were hunting protected wild animals in the Lesser Hinggan Mountains, and that organs and body parts were being sold illegally for food.

The Asian black bear is an endangered animal under State protection.

A police undercover investigation, undertaken with the cooperation of wild animal protection volunteers, found three black bears in a resident's house in Xiaobai village.

Unfortunately, two of the bears had died from injuries sustained while being hunted. The sole survivor was to be sold off.

"The villagers involved in the case have been criminally detained," said Yue Wenming, deputy director of the Tieli Forest public security bureau. "We will continue to increase our efforts to crack down on such illegal activities and hope more citizens will pay attention to wild animal protection."

After being rescued, the black bear was sent to the rehabilitation facility in Tieli.

"The young bear is about 1 year old," said Cui Yan, director of the facility. According to statistical data in 2009, there were about 1,000 Asian black bears in Heilongjiang, but the number is decreasing, Cui said.

"There was no obvious trauma to the bear but it was in a poor mental state when it arrived at our facility. It would hide in the corner when the breeder came to feed it," he said. "Several days later, it became familiar with the breeder and began to eat actively. We provided it various nutrition-rich foods such as corn and apples. Its weight has increased by 1.5 kilograms."

Experts at the facility decided to send the bear to the Yabuli giant panda habitat.

"The living environment for black bears in the Lesser Hinggan Mountains has been destroyed in recent years," Cui told China Daily. "Furthermore, the bear had begun to rely on its breeder after a period of artificial feeding, and it is too young to survive in nature independently."

The Yabuli habitat is well suited for its new guest, according to Yu Tengjiao, the director.

"We are preparing a temporary den for the bear and plan to receive it here next week," Yu said. "A new bear mountain will be built this year, and it will live in a better environment at that time."

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