Bear Plummets To Death As Wildlife Officers Airlift It To Park

Published March 2, 2017
Updated December 18, 2017
Published March 2, 2017
Updated December 18, 2017

The Asian black bear was on its way back to wildlife when it fell to its death.



Taking time to do the math matters and recent events in Thailand may provide an apt, if not unfortunate, case in point.

In February, wildlife officers at Khao Yai National Park in Thailand attempted to airlift a 200-pound Asian black bear to nature. Typically, officers use a car to transport these animals back into their natural habitats. But officers wanted to take this bear — which the Bangkok Post reports they had found injured in November after it wandered into a village — deep into the forest such that the likelihood of it re-entering a village would be quite low.

At some point during the flight, the bear woke up. The bear, attached to the helicopter with net and rope alone, panicked and then fell to its death. An initial investigation showed that the problem had to do with a faulty net ring, which attached the bear’s enclosure to the helicopter.

Activists say that had officials taken the time to properly weigh the bear and thus give it the correct dosage of tranquilizer, this outcome could have been avoided.

“Officials were…careless in calculating the weight of the bear to give the correct dose of tranquilizer to prevent it from waking up during the operation,” Thongchai Saengprathum, secretary of the Khao Yai Foundation, told the Phuket Gazette. “It should also have been put it a cage.”

Saengprathum added that the officers involved should be charged for negligent behavior.

Other wildlife officers, such as regional park director Wirat Chatuphon, refute Saengprathum’s claim. “This is not true. They aren’t amateurs,” Chatuphon said. “We don’t do shoddy work.”

Instead, Chatuphon says that the bear’s death had more to do with bad weather that the wildlife officers encountered along the way. Chatuphon likewise added that casting blame for such an event is not a productive use of time.

“If everyone keeps looking for people to find fault with, officials will be discouraged and eventually will dare not do any work,” he told the Bangkok Post.

Though the event transpired on February 11, details just went public on Saturday — and now officials have undertaken a ten-day probe to learn what exactly happened in an attempt to avoid a similar incident in the future.

“We want the investigation to be conducted in a way to prevent such a thing happening again,” Chatuphon said.

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