December 2008: An up-to-date clinic made possible by a generous supporter is now enabling staff at a WSPA-funded sanctuary in Pakistan to give rescued bears the very best of care and treatment.
The Kund Park Sanctuary, run with member society the Bioresource Research Centre (BRC), is located between Punjab and North-West-Frontier Province where the Indus and Kabul rivers meet. It currently provides veterinary care and a safe haven for 22 bears formerly used for baiting.
Bear baiting is a savage blood sport in which dogs are set upon a tethered and defenceless bear.
All bears brought to the sanctuary have endured great physical and mental trauma and need specialist treatment, explains Dr Jan Schmidt-Burbach, WSPA’s wildlife veterinary programmes officer.
“We help them by giving veterinary care to treat fight-inflicted infected wounds and various other diseases from which they tend to suffer because their immune system is so weak. To prevent the bears from breeding we also carry out castrations on all male bears upon arrival at the sanctuary.”
Making a difference
The donation of $5,650 Australian dollars has funded: preparation and operating tables; tiling; air conditioning and heating units; new surgical lights; storage units; a new fridge for medicines and a device for monitoring the bears’ pulses and oxygen levels while they are under anaesthesia.
“Some people believe that it takes millions of dollars to help animals in need. This donation proves that smaller amounts can make a big difference too,” says Dr Schmidt-Burbach.
One of the first bears to benefit from the new room was Mellun, who needed surgical treatment of an old and heavily maggot-infested wound. Mellun had been rescued from a landlord who had used him in baiting events for six years.
“The whole treatment procedure was easier and safer than it would have been before,” explains Dr Nazir, BRC’s vet at the sanctuary. “We are now working in a much more spacious and lighter environment.
This means finishing treatments in less time and with better results. In the past it would have taken us at least 50 per cent longer to operate on Mellun. We are all so grateful to the donor who decided to support us in this way,” he states.
Working in partnership
The Kund Park Sanctuary is part of WSPA’s continuing project with BRC in Pakistan to stamp out bear baiting in the region.
Education work focussing on the Islamic teachings that criticise cruelty to animals has been particularly successful. Thousands of key religious leaders have denounced baiting as un-Islamic and so far 235 landlords – who run the events – have given it up.
Read about some recent successes for bears in Pakistan:
September: Former baiter gives up last bear >>
July: Four bears saved in latest local network success >>
June: Member society’s dedication saves cubs from bear baiting >>
March: Local networking saves bears from cruel contest >>