The recent floods, while on one hand have destroyed and devastated a major portion of Pakistan’s communication infrastructure and villages, displacing over 20 million people, had also ravaged a noble cause at the Kund Park Bear sanctuary and has some bad news for the animal lovers.
The Kund Park spread over 176 acres lies in between the River Indus and River Kabul (on the north bank of river Kabul), between the cities of Nowshehra and Attock (on the border of the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhua and Punjab). The park is home to various species of animals including the common leopard, spotted deer, hog deer, black buck, golden pheasant, silver pheasant, ring-necked pheasant, kalij pheasant, cheer pheasant, blue peacock, white peacock, cranes, partridges.
Here at the Kund Park, the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has established a bear sanctuary for the protection of bears in Pakistan. The Society over the years has made relentless efforts to save bears from killing and using these as part of the awesome bear-dog fight game. Due to the efforts of the Society, this deadly game of bear baiting has been harnessed to a considerable extent. At the Park, a large wooded enclosure is separately reserved for the bears that are recovered from the clutches of the bear baiters. Till the floods hit Pakistan in July this year, the sanctuary had a population of 23 bears.
The recent floods hit this area badly and unfortunately the bear sanctuary as well. Although the staff received the flood warning, but the flash flood water rose 60 feet above river level swiftly, allowing no time for the staff to remove the bears to safety. Although the staff took the bears to the high ground but had to abandon the site for their own safety.
And when the water receded, the staff rushed back and tried to locate the bears round the clock. After a three days search, they could only find three out of the 23 bears, and that too in a devastated state. The rest twenty had succumbed to the floods. The WSPA greatly appreciated the efforts of the staff of the park for their last minute efforts to save the bears and later rescue the three survivors. The survived include Babu, three year old Maylu (rescued in 2006, saved from the black market bear trade) and Sohrab, a two year old Asiatic black bear who had been living peacefully at the Kund Park sanctuary since 2007.
Like many other destroyed infrastructures, the Kund Park will take a long time to rebuild. Now the three surviving bears will be taken to near complete new sanctuary ay Balkasar. There is however no news about the other animals from any quarter so far.