Controversial Death of a Brown Bear Cub

A recent video shows park rangers and locals attacking the bear cub with wooden sticks
The brown bear cub died in Golestan National Park on Sept. 4.  The brown bear cub died in Golestan National Park on Sept. 4.
Park rangers’ lack of training on dealing with wild animals and insufficient equipment are blamed for the incident

A recent video has given rise to controversy over the death of a brown bear cub in Golestan National Park in Golestan Province on Sept. 4.

The bear cub was seen prowling around Tarjanli Village where park rangers prevent its entry into residential areas.

In the first report, the rangers said that after a shot of anesthetic injection, the bear died of an unknown reason on the way to a veterinary center in Kalaleh County, ISNA reported.

Later, they claimed that the animal was rabid, but laboratory tests on pathological samples provided before the animal’s death proved it to be false.

Further investigations on the cause of death were held up, as the carcass was buried hurriedly without coordination with the Department of Environment.

Nevertheless, a recent video, which has spread throughout the social media, presents an account of the event that totally contradicts the previous narrative.

The clip shows a group of people, including rangers and locals attacking the cub with wooden sticks. One of the locals is shown to beat the animal repeatedly after it is trapped in a net.

Gholamreza Karimi, the head of the provincial office of the Department of Environment, said he is unaware of the event but added that false reports had reached him.

He later provided more details on the incident, stating that after the anesthetic injection, the rangers approached the animal but it was not completely senseless and attacked them severely, injuring one of the locals (apparently a member of the village council).

“Anyone would defend himself in such a situation,” he said in support of the park rangers.

The official explained that the park wardens should not be blamed for cruelty or inhumane behavior.

“It all goes down to lack of training on dealing with wild animals and insufficient equipment,” he said.

Karimi’s justification comes at a time when Golestan Province’s DOE office is gradually becoming notorious for its brutal acts against animals.

Late last summer, a two-year-old female Persian leopard named Hirkan was released in the wild by the DOE office in Kordkoy, but only survived for 35 days.

The leopard’s corpse was kept frozen by the provincial DOE for three months before local rangers moved it around the forest in order to trick officials in Tehran into thinking the leopard was alive until recently.

The public uproar over the incident has also impelled Isa Kalantari, the DOE chief, to react.

“It’s a pity to see such behavior from those who are supposed to protect rare animals,” he said in a statement, lamenting the poor conduct of the provincial environment bodies.

Kalantari urged Golestan National Park authorities and the provincial DOE to investigate the case and refer the offenders to judicial authorities.

As the provincial DOE office itself is involved, it is difficult to understand how this decision will guarantee justice in this case.

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