On January 5, 2015, at around midday, the Sindh Wildlife Department intercepted a bear baiting event involving seven bears near the Noor Pir Shrine in Taluka Dharki in District Ghotki. Three bears were rescued while four were taken away by the culprits. Unfortunately, all the organizers escaped from the scene. The bears were later moved to the Balkasar Sanctuary in the Punjab.
The bears apparently were brought from Rahim Yar Khan in the Punjab; two men from the latter town accompanying the bears were arrested. They were identified as Rab Nawaz and Ghulam Rasool.
A police report was lodged against the following:
- Rab Nawaz
- Hussein of Rahim Yar Khan
- Abdul Ghafur
- Munir Ahmad Soomro
- Karim Baksh
It is unclear if any of the accused named in the FIR are the main organizers who were said to be major landlords of the area. It is also unknown if the two arrested have been bailed out; and what action the police has taken so far to proceed further with the matter.
The raid was led by the Sindh Wildlife Department Conservator Meher and Deedar Hussein of the Police.
The FIR was lodged under sections 279 and 428 of the Pakistan Penal Code; the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act; and sections 8, 10 and 17 of the Sindh Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
The FIR has been registered under the 1972 Ordinance but the latter law does not even cover bears. The law only applies to `Game Animals’ and `Protected Animals’ as defined in it and as listed in the two schedules to the Ordinance.
It is about time that the Sindh Wildlife Department issues a notification under section 40 of the Ordinance adding the following under clause 5 of the Second Schedule to cover bears under the Ordinance and to enable the Department to take action under the Ordinance in all such future raids or actions:
Asiatic Black Bear Ursus Thibetanus Synonym Selenarctos Thibetanus
Himalayan Black Bear Ursus Arctos