Trapped sloth bear nearly chews off paw to escape snare left by sick poachers

A trapped sloth bear tried chewing her own paw off in a desperate attempt to break free from a snare.

The animal, now known by rescuers as Millie, was spotted in agony as she limped around a forest in India with a snare around her leg, which was most likely left by farmers.

Horrific graphic images of Millie's injuries in Karnataka, south-west India, show the heartbreaking damage caused by "one of the cruellest man-made threats to wildlife" can be.

Her survival was a race against time according to Wildlife SOS who were told about Millie's condition by the Forest Department.

Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and CEO of Wildlife SOS, said: "Animals caught in snare traps struggle for hours or even days before succumbing to injuries or thirst and hunger. Some animals like sloth bears and tigers have even chewed off their limbs to free themselves.

"Yet even for animals who manage to escape, the situation is dire. They often die in days or weeks owing to the brutal injuries the snare trap inflicts. The female sloth bear was found in the nick of time. Otherwise, she too could have died in pain and suffering."

Wildlife SOS partner, International Animal Rescue (IAR), has appealed for help from its 261,000 Instagram followers to make sure the severely bear gets the treatment she needs to recover.

The organisation slammed the use of a cheap homemade snare which left Millie's paw "completely mangled".

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The IAR post said: "Millie has suffered devastating injuries as a result of a snare left by a cruel hunter. Her paw has been completely mangled , and the vets at our partners, Wildlife SOS, are currently doing everything they can to give her the urgent medical treatment she requires.

"Snares are homemade devices that can be made from motorbike chains in less than three minutes! For the animals that are caught by these devices, they often spend the rest of their lives writhing in pain.

"We suspect Millie, in a desperate attempt to free herself, attempted to chew her own paw off. Words cannot describe how utterly sickened we are at the callousness displayed by this hunter, how could anyone find it in their hearts to do this?!"

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The bear is currently receiving treatment at the Bannerghatta Bear Rescue Centre after being sedated and then examined by Dr Arun A Sha.

The snare tightly wrapped around Millie's right forelimb caused gangrenous wound with bacterial infections which vets cleaned and dressed one freed.

Snare traps are widely used by farmers and poachers in India to trap animals as large as elephants raiding crops or to sell the prey itself as food.

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Geeta Seshamani, co-founder & Secretary of Wildlife SOS said: “As an organisation working to help animals in distress, we believe snares are one of the cruellest man-made threats to wildlife. There is an urgent need to educate the public about the illegality of such offences.”

Alan Knight, OBE, CEO of International Animal Rescue, a partner organisation of Wildlife SOS said, “Thanks to the decisive action of the Forest Department and the swift response by the WSOS team, this young bear now stands a chance of recovery and a bright future.

"Snares are a vicious and cruel way to catch any animal and should be banned outright.

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