WARNING: GRAPHIC FOOTAGE
Heartbreaking footage shows a young bear cub struggling to walk and having to use her nose as a crutch after losing her front leg to a poacher's snare.
The small female cub, just three months old, was found wandering alone in a forest in India. Whimpering in pain, the bear can be seen in clear distress in the footage (see above).
The little sloth bear was rescued after locals in Amoni village, Bhopal, alerted the Forest Department to her presence.
The bear cub, who has since been named Rose by her rescuers, had been making frequent visits to the village in search of food and was becoming progressively thinner and finding it more and more difficult to walk because of her mangled leg.
Local officials contacted veterinarian Dr Niraj Dahe at the Van Vihar Bear Rescue Centre.
The facility, managed by Wildlife SOS of India and funded by UK-based charity International Animal Rescue (IAR), is home to 28 rescued dancing bears and provides them with a peaceful retirement after years of pain and neglect on India’s streets.
Dr Niraj said: “We’re giving her some time to settle into her new surroundings, as she is currently deeply traumatised and very frightened.”
It is not known what happened to Rose's mother.
Alan Knight OBE, IAR CEO, said: “The sight and sound of this little cub trying to walk is just pitiful.
“She must have spent weeks in agony, from the moment when she was first caught in the snare and every single minute since then.
“The pain from the infected wound must have been excruciating.
“In addition, this poor baby is without her mother who should still be protecting and caring for her. We will never know what happened to the mother bear but Rose’s story illustrates how vulnerable wild bears are to threats from poachers, wildlife traders and smugglers.
“Her escape from the snare may have cost her a foreleg but it probably saved her from an even more gruesome fate. Wild bears in India are much in demand for their body parts or to be smuggled further afield for bear dancing or baiting.
“This little one may have suffered permanent physical damage but I know the veterinary team and the keepers at the centre will do all they can to help her recover and learn to cope with her disability.”
Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder of Wildlife SOS, said: “The villagers were right to inform the Forest Department, rather than taking matters into their own hands and we are grateful to them for alerting us to the situation.
“It is truly heart-breaking to see this helpless young animal in such pain and I hope to see her recover from this traumatic experience, with the help of our dedicated team of vets and staff.”