New Delhi, Sep 23 (IANS) Three young sloth bears were rescued from the Indo-Nepal border from poachers who had smuggled the animals into India, officials said Monday.
The joint operation was carried out by the Jharkhand forest department, police and Delhi-based NGO Wildlife SOS.
The three bears, two male and a female, were shifted to the Wildlife SOS Agra bear rescue facility where they are undergoing treatment for their wounds.
"We received intelligence that the poachers were hiding in a remote forested area in Giridih district (Jharkhand) and passed on this intelligence to the authorities who provided the personnel to carry out the operation," said the NGO.
"It is possible that the bear cubs were poached from different parts of India and were then hidden in Nepal until they were old enough to be sold," the NGO added.
The bears were to be sold to a local community but as the deal did not go through the animals were being taken back to Nepal where they would have been slaughtered and their body parts sold in south-east Asian countries for use in traditional medicines or for bear paw soup which is considered to be a delicacy.
"We shall try our best to stop the illegal poaching of wildlife within the state and save the diverse flora and fauna of the country," said Rupak De, chief wildlife warden, Uttar Pradesh.