Raja the rescue bear cub recovering well at sanctuary
Raja, a 10-month-old bear cub who arrived weak and underweight at our Balkasar partner sanctuary in Pakistan, on New Year’s Eve, is growing fast and settling in to his new life.
“He has taken a while to get used to our quarantine unit. But now he is eating well and having fun with his favourite playthings – a wooden log and toy tire. He has also developed a close bond with Saheb Rahim our sanctuary manager. Whenever Saheb visits him, Raja jumps up and down with joy,” explains Madeeha Manzoor from our partner the Bioresource Research Centre of Pakistan (BRC) that runs the sanctuary.
Before coming to Balkasar, Raja was owned by a bear poacher who was going to sell the bear to people who would use him for cruel bear dancing or bear baiting. Thankfully wildlife authorities were alerted to the cub’s plight and courts had his owner hand Raja over to Balkasar.
Raja’s owner did not know what to feed him, so Raja was given dry scraps of rotten bread and dirty water. This left his black coat in a poor condition and kept him underweight, explains Madeeha.
“Instead of being soft and silky it was dull and felt harsh to the touch, but it is feeling much better now. Raja loves his food – and he is fed a mixture of meat and cereals. He also really loves to have his ears, nose and head rubbed,” says Madeeha.
“When he arrived in our care he was suffering from great stress and trauma and needed this sort of stoking and attention contact for comfort and his development. He had been separated from his mother at a young age and had been so badly treated. But now gradually we are reducing human contact to help him to start to live independently and get ready for living his adult life."
Raja is likely to be kept in the quarantine area until his strong and healthy. Thanks to your support the Balkasar staff will be giving him the very best of care.
“We want to make sure he is physically and mentally strong enough to join the other 40 bears in the sanctuary, or returned back to nature by reintroduction in the wild,” says Madeeha.
Watch the video below for a recap of our work to rescue bears in 2016: