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Kerala Minister seeks investigation in bear death case

Kerala’s forest minister, AK Saseendran, called the state’s chief game warden for a report on Friday after a sloth bear trapped in a well died Thursday during a rescue operation in the village of Vellandu, about 20 kilometers from the state capital. The incident was heavily criticized by animal lovers.

The bear was seen hanging from a ring in the well Wednesday night by K Aravind after hearing a ruckus outside his home. He warned the forest authorities.

Rescue efforts went awry on Thursday after the animals were thrown and netted, with the bear slipping out of the net under its weight and the sleepy animal falling to the ground and drowning. Animal lovers said the animals could have been easily rescued by pumping water into a well or lowering a ladder.

After breaking out from many sides, the forestry minister on Friday called for a report from his Warden Chief Game. “Unintentionally, our people did their best to save it, but in the end a freak incident resulted in the death of the animal. If we do, we will act,” he said. But animal lovers said shooting an animal caught in water was beyond common sense.

A veterinarian calmed the animal down safely, but the life of a healthy animal, weighing over 210 kg, was at the cost, they added.

“This is a big mistake and those responsible should be punished. Kerala’s forestry sector is the worst in the country. Accountability needs to be addressed as the clumsy treatment of officials led to this death.” BJP MP animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi told the news channel. Animal rights group People for Animals said it would appeal to the Supreme Court to bring a case against the forestry authorities responsible for the bear’s death.

PFA said it was “casual and awkward treatment” that led to the animals’ deaths. 

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