Taiwan Bear rescued from trap released after 8 month rehabilitation

A Formosan black bear rescued from an animal trap in Taitung County in December regained his freedom today after eight months recovering from wounds and surgery.

Umas, as the bear was named, was found caught in a boar trap in the mountain district of Haiduan Township in December 2020. Estimated to be between one and two years old, Umas was found to have old and new injuries, including fractures, necrosis of his right forelimb, and gunshot wounds.

After recovering from his wounds, and surgery that included partial amputation, Umas spent time in an open field training ground where he was monitored to make sure he had regained the ability to climb trees and forage while he gained weight and recovered his physical stamina.

Umas the black bear
Umas the Formosan Black Bear before his release back into the wild. Picture: Taitung Forestry Management Office.

A team from Pingtung University performed a final health check on Umas, Friday, August 13, and fitted the 47.7 kilogram bear with a satellite transmitter in preparation for his release into the wild.

Taitung Forest Management Office staff, the head of Kanding Village, and tribal elders helped carry Umas in a cage, and performed a blessing ceremony and prayer before his release.

Ceremony to pray for Umas safety
Ceremony to pray for Umas safety. Picture: Taitung Forest Management Office.

Umas poked his head out of the cage and looked around for a few moments before cautiously stepping out, then running into the undergrowth without looking back to say goodbye.

The satellite transmitter worn on a collar will relay positioning information at regular intervals to allow researchers to monitor the bear’s location and movements.

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