Footage shows a sloth bear braving the summer heat and gleefully playing with a ball in the southern Indian state of Karnataka after being seized from poachers.The incident took place at the Wildlife SOS Centre in Bannerghatta, Bangalore, on May 5.The video shows the sloth bear, Ron, sitting on its hind legs and playing with an enrichment ball, specially designed to stimulate olfactory, taste, tactile and visual senses.Approximately two years old, Ron was among the five sloth bears rescued in an anti-poaching operation near the Indo-Nepal border back in August 2019.It was a covert operation jointly conducted by the Forest Department and local Police authorities based on intelligence provided by Wildlife SOS anti-poaching unit ‘Forest Watch’.The bears were intercepted by the authorities while being for sale to other middlemen by the wildlife traffickers.Bear bile, gall bladders and other body parts are used in traditional Chinese medicine, thus making the sloth bear a vulnerable target.Ron is an outgoing bear who loves mock wrestling with other bears and is under treatment for the muzzle injuries due to piercing by poachers.The offenders often smashed the teeth of the bears with metal rods and mutilated the muzzles to insert a rope to train the bears for street performances.Sloth bears are listed as ‘vulnerable’ in the IUCN Red List and should be protected at all costs.
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