The Sindth Wildlife Department has banned bear baiting, animal fights and animal begging in the province.
According to Pakistan’s The Express Tribune, begging with bears is common in the province but bear baiting is ‘a favourite’ in the northern and central areas.
From now on, anyone still practising these cruel acts will face up to two years in prison and/or a fine of Rs100,000.
Wildlife Secretary Naila Wajid Khan told The Express Tribune that they had suggested the law to be adopted in the entire country.
“It is a cruel activity that no sensible person can look at it,” Khan said. “The bear is enlisted in the protected schedule and we’ll confiscate these animals wherever we find them.”
Bear baiting consists of tethered bears fighting with at least three trained dogs for up to three minutes, when a jury decides who wins.
Even though it is banned under the Prevention of cruelty to animals act (1890), lack of law enforcement has let the activity to continue and even grow with some events having over a thousand spectators.
Most bears have their claws and teeth removed without anaesthetic so they can’t kill the dogs, and they are tethered from a ring painfully pierced on their nose.
World Animal Protection explains: “The bears are captured and forced to endure immense pain even before they fight, with their canine teeth broken, muzzles painfully pierced with nose rings and claws often removed. The bears suffer terrible injuries, rarely living past the age of eight. When one bear dies, the cycle starts again, with more young wild bears forced into captivity and torment.”
Thanks to WAP and Pakistan Bioresource Research Centre’s (PBRC) non-stop work, they have managed to decrease the number of bear baiting bears from around 300 in 2000 to only 40 in 2014.