Reflections of a Brown Bear in an Autumn Stream with the Fractalius Filter applied.
Bear baiting still occurs in the Punjab and Sindh provinces of Pakistan, although it has declined considerably overall since 2004. The events are organised predominantly by local landlords who own the fighting dogs used; the dogs are usually a cross breed similar to Pit Bull terriers.
During the event the bear will be tethered to a rope 2–5 metres long in the centre of an arena to prevent escape. Bears’ canine teeth are often removed and their claws may be filed down giving them less advantage over the dogs. Each fight lasts around three minutes. If the dogs pull the bear to the ground they are said to win the fight. Bears usually have to undergo several fights during each day’s event.
Bears are illegally sourced by poaching. Asiatic black bears and brown bears are known to be poached in Pakistan and used in bear baiting. Asiatic black bears are listed as vulnerable on the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN’s) Red List of Threatened Animals. The capture of bear cubs is prohibited across three provinces of Pakistan by: the North West Frontier Province Conservation and Management Act (1975); the Punjab Wildlife Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management Act (1974); and the Sindh Wildlife Protection Ordinance (1972).
Bear baiting was banned in Pakistan by the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1890). Pakistan’s wildlife authorities are working with animal welfare groups to eradicate the events, with some success.
Baiting animals is outlawed in the Quran. The Bioresource Research Centre, a Pakistani wildlife group working to end bear baiting, use this to encourage mosques in areas where baiting occurs to add an anti-cruelty message to their Friday Khutbba (sermon).
Kund Park Sanctuary in Kund, North-West Frontier Province, was opened in 2001 by the World Society for the Protection of Animals to provide a home for bears confiscated by the wildlife authorities and NGOs working to eradicate bear baiting in Pakistan.