TikTok video spurs quest for chained bear’s freedom
KARACHI: The Sindh Wildlife Department (SWD) finally managed on Saturday to trace a black bear in captivity, after a TikTok video of it went viral on social media.
However, SWD officials were unable to convince the gypsy family that held the animal in captivity in Sanghar’s Tando Adam to hand it over them.
The issue gained the SWD’s and conservationists’ attention after a TikTok user, Danish alias Dani Baba, uploaded the video of the chained bear on social media.
Locating the animal, however, proved to be a difficult task as Danish had not shared the bear’s exact location.
While conservationists made failed attempts to approach the TikTok user, the SWD appealed to citizens, particularly Danish, on social media to help them locate the bear, even offering the boy a certificate for his assistance.
At the time, asking Danish for information seemed the SWD’s best bet at getting a lead to the bear’s location. However, he proved to be of little help.
“I am not sure where I saw the animal,” he told The Express Tribune. “I was on my way to Karachi from Sukkur when I saw the bear with a [gypsy] family,” he added.
He clarified that he did not know that by filming the bear, he was committing an illegal act. “Many young boys were making [its] video,” he said, pledging to avoid shooting videos of animals in the future.
But Danish’s ignorance of the bear’s location was unable to deter SWD officials and their efforts finally bore fruit on Saturday, when a SWD team, led by Aijaz Noondhani and aided by district police, tracked down the bear.
It was in Tando Adam, Sanghar, in the illegal possession of a gypsy family.
But freedom was to take more than just a raid.
According to SWD conservator Javed Ahmed Mahar, the first impediment faced by the raiding officials was in the shape of resistance put up by the women of the gypsy family.
The second hurdle appeared in the form of the bear’s gypsy owners’ obstinacy, with the SWD team unable to convince it to hand over the bear.
Speaking to The Express Tribune late on Saturday evening, Mahar said, “Our team is trying to convince the family to hand over the animal. We have even offered the head of the family a rickshaw as an alternate source of livelihood.” It is pertinent to note here that many gypsy families keep animals in captivity and use them for beggary.
While it appeared the SWD had a tall task to accomplish, Mahar refused to lose hope of the bear getting its much-deserved freedom.
“I hope we get the bear’s possession on Sunday [today],” said Mahar, adding that the animal would be shifted to a sanctuary in Islamabad once it was liberated from the chains of captivity.