nUnder the lifetime care at the Wildlife SOS Bear Bannerghatta Rescue Center, the rescued sloths have been named Maahi and Mithali in the honour of cricket legends Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Mithali Raj.
According to Wildlife SoS, in a truly heart-warming end to a rather tragic beginning, two sloth bears cubs that had been orphaned have been adopted by a foster mom in India.
With World Cup fever gripping Indian fans, Wildlife SOS has christened the cubs Maahi and Mithali, in honour of cricket legends Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Mithali Raj. While Mithali quashed gender stereotypes to heading India’s women’s cricket team and leading it to current ODI ranking of number 3 in the world, Dhoni hailing from a small town in Jharkhand lead India’s men in blue to win the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup. The two orphans, just like their namesake, too have beaten all odds and emerged victorious in the face of adversity.
“The sloth cubs were found clinging to their dying mother inside a 20-foot-deep well on the outskirts of Tumkur Pavagada village, located in Karnataka,” said Wildlife SoS people. Tragic! The female bear, mother of these sloths, was suspected to have been trapped inside the well for over 48 hours and had succumbed to starvation and physical injuries sustained during the fall. The bears were later discovered by local farmers after they heard the cries of the young cubs echoing from the well.
Shockingly, when the Forest Department and Wildlife SOS rescuers arrived at the location, they were met with a truly devastating sight- the cubs were clutching onto their dead mother and still nursing from her.
“It was a miracle that they were still alive, and a new chapter awaited them at the centre. They were initially quite fragile and had to be placed under intensive care and treatment,” said wildlife official, “Since, the young bears were yearning for a maternal presence, the teamdecided to gradually introduce them to a female bear named Ankita, in the hopes that she would adopt them.
Ankita and her own two cubs were rescued by the Wildlife SOS team from aconflict situation a few years ago,” he added.
“As luck would have it, her maternal instincts kicked in almost immediately and she happily took on the role of a foster mom,” he further added.
Dr Arun. A Sha Director- Research and Veterinary Operations, Wildlife SOSsaid, “It is in the first 18-24 months of their lives that sloth bear cubs pick up the skills and
natural instincts from their mothers such as digging
up mud pits and insect mounds, foraging, climbing trees, etc. Under Ankita’s skilful guidance and care, today the cubs have grown healthy and confident!
Once they had blossomed under Ankita’s care, the team felt more sure-footed about the cubs’ survival and have decided to introduce them to their supporters.
Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder & CEO Wildlife SOS said, “We are grateful to the Forest Department for
entrusting us with the lifetime care and treatment of the two orphaned cubs.
The most heartening part of their recovery journey has been the bond that they share with a 17-year-old female bear named Ankitawho readily took the cubs under her wings and treats them as her own.”
Geeta Seshamani, Co-founder Wildlife SOS said, “The cubs now have a free-range enclosure where they have the opportunity to see and smell other bears and can spend all day on the enrichment structures that are built specially to keep our bears healthy and fit.
They have grown quite mischievous andspend hours playing with peanut filled enrichment ball and delicious honey logs.”