Bear Kinship

Bear Spirit


Response From Steve Stringham

RE: Indian man jailed for keeping sloth bear as pet

Hello Jeff,

I would never condone anyone killing a mother bear to get her cubs, whether for research, companionship or sale. However, once a cub is orphaned, raising it with affection and constant social interaction is far more "humane" -- or should we say "ursane" or just plain "sane" -- then condemning it to a zoo. Speaking as someone who has wild-raised orphaned cubs and helped them become self-sufficient in the wild, I can only wish that had been the fate of this sloth bear -- a species all to rare in the wild.

Ideally, it should be turned over to one of India's sloth bear researchers who could have mentored it like I mentored my cubs and as Ben Kilham and Charlie Russell mentored theirs. (The family who raised the cub might be employed on the project.) This is a rare opportunity to learn a great deal about sloth bears that could benefit the relatively small number still surviving in the wilds. If any of you know the name of a sloth bear researcher, please pass this message along. Meanwhile, I will dig through my own files and try to find a few contacts.

Steve Stringham, Director
Bear Communication & CoExistence Research Program

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