India’s oldest sloth bear Gulabo passes away


Indian sloth bear Gulabo, who lived on till 40 years, passed away recently

Sloth bear Gulabo, who is known to be one of India’s oldest sloth bears, passed away in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Rescued from the trade of dancing, she was rehabilitated at the Wildlife SOS Bear Rescue Centre which is located inside the Van Vihar National Park.

Native to the Indian subcontinent, the sloth bear or Melursus ursinus, feeds on termites, fruits and ants and is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, mainly because of habitat loss and degradation.

In the wild these animals live up to 15 to 20 years while in captivity they are known to survive for 25 years and more due to medical care and nutrition.

The reason for Gulabo’s long life can be attributed to advanced veterinary medicine and specialised geriatric care provided by the veterinary doctors and bear care staff. Over a period of time, age caught up with her and her condition deteriorated gradually. She passed away in her sleep last week.

Talking about Gulabo’s passing away, Wildlife Veterinary Officer, Dr. Rajat Kulkarni said: “Gulabo lived a long and healthy life in our care and would spend her days basking under the sun, almost as though making up for the lost years of rest as a dancing bear. An autopsy determined the cause of death as a failure of internal organs due to old age.”

Appreciating the care she received at the Centre, Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-Founder Wildlife SOS remarked: “We are so honoured to have been a part of Gulabo’s life, and to have had the chance to give her a safe and comfortable life.”

Over the years, these creatures have been forced to perform to entertain and the Government of India has banned this and for this a ‘Sloth Bear Welfare Project’ was started.

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