“When Worlds Collide: A Formosan Black Bear’s Deadly Dance with Civilization” wins Gold at Houston Film Fest

A documentary film about a Formosan black bear that was rescued from animal traps multiple times before finally being fatally shot by hunters won the Gold Award in the Documentary Feature Film category of the 56th Houston Film Festival, and is available to be watched for free on multiple platforms.

The film documents the life of a bear dubbed 711/568 by wildlife researchers, beginning with the animal being rescued from a wire snare in the mountains of Taitung County, October 2020.

The bear was wearing a satellite tracking collar, and researchers identified it as one of six bears tagged for research purposes in 2018. At the time it was tagged it was noted to have toes missing on both left and right paws, and broken teeth consistent with injuries suffered from animal traps.

Formosan black bear tagged in 2018
Bear 711 after capture and tagging in 2018. (screenshot from film).

The bear was treated for its injuries and released back into the wild again December 2020.

Researchers tracked and monitored the bear’s movements, and just two weeks later 711 was approaching a mountain village again. Fearful for its safety, attempts were made to scare it back into the mountains, but the bear raided chicken coops and farmers’ cabins for food, and unfortunately was once again snared and injured in a boar trap.

There followed an 8-month-long period of rehabilitation before 711 was once again released in a remote mountain area of Nantou County, April 2022.

Formosan bear released in April, 2022.

However, the bear immediately tracked north, traveling around 57 kilometers over the next two weeks, getting close to human civilization again.

Researchers attempted to locate the bear to frighten it away back into the remote forests, but eventually found its tracking collar had been cut off and thrown away. A short time later, the bear was found dead and buried in a shallow grave. It had been shot by hunters. Two men were charged over the bear’s death.

At first, the men claimed that they had shot it accidentally while hunting at night, not realizing it was a bear.

Finally, the suspects admitted that the bear had been caught in a trap they had set, and that they shot and buried the animal out of fear they would be punished by authorities.

[See previous story: Two suspects charged for killing, burying Formosan black bear]

The documentary film When Worlds Collide: A Formosan Black Bear’s Deadly Dance with Civilization, was commissioned by the Forestry Bureau of the Council of Agriculture. The Forestry Bureau announced today that the film is available to watch free on the Internet.

You can watch the English version of the full documentary film for free here:

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