Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Orissa Tribal arrested for keeping a Sloth Bear, gets Bail

Ram Singh Munda from Keonjhar, who was recently arrested for keeping a sloth bear as his pet for 18 months, was granted bail by Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate of Keonjhar. Munda reportedly cared the orphan bear (Rani) as his child and fed the animal for more than 18 months. Munda got her from the forest when the bear was only 2 months old. According to locals, the forest authorities were aware of this, but they took action after the media highlighted the issue.

Unfortunately, Munda was treated like a criminal and was lodged in Keonjhar jail for allegedly violating various provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Some vested wildlife activists and forest officials spread false information that Munda first killed Rani's mother and kept the child as captive. They also alleged that Munda tried to bribe the forest officials. Interestingly, Munda is from such a poor background that he can't even afford to think about bribing someone.

After the intervention of local and national media (particularly, CNN-IBN), the district administration swung into action. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik assured to help Munda's five-year-old daughter who lived alone at her home in her father's absence. Munda's wife expired a few years ago. Later, Ram Singh Munda was released on bail. The bear has been shifted to Nandankanan Zoological Park near Bhubaneswar. But it is said that she is missing Munda and his family very much and does not feel comfortable in the zoo.
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At June 27, 2008 5:55 PM , Blogger Pat Quinn said...

I am relieved to hear the Mr Munda is out of jail. But how is his daughter doing, is she back with Dad? And how is the sloth bear doing? The last I heard she was not eating; she was pining away in a zoo! Reunite the family at once, before the bear dies of starvation.

At July 14, 2008 11:51 AM , Blogger Janine Freeman said...

Rani could die, the sloth is missing the only family it has ever known, Mr. Munda and his daughter. Could you eat if your heart was broken? I couldn't! Please reunite this family.


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