Friday, June 27, 2008

Munda and Rani in better times.

When A Man Loves A Bear

And no, I'm not referring to the buff, burly gay men that drink and loiter in certain parts of San Francisco.

Here's a story of bear love for the ages: Ram Singh Munda, a laborer from a small Indian village outside of New Delhi, was collecting firewood in the forest near his home when he discovered an abandoned bear cub. Illiterate and unaware of national wildlife statutes, Munda brought the black sloth back to his home, where it would be cared for and nurtured like a member of the family. A family that had recently shrunk since the death of Munda's wife, leaving him to care for their six year-old daughter alone.

Naturally, the story made national headlines:

Unfortunately for the Munda clan, the government took notice. Munda is currently spending his days in jail while the bear, Rani (Queen), sits in isolation at a local zoo and is refusing to eat. The daughter was sent to a state boarding school.

Go to this petition site to help reunite this family. I know there are more pressing matters in the world right now, but really, look at that happy bear on the bicycle! If this story, and the site of that bear on a bicycle, does not bring a tear to the eye then you are not human.

That is all.


Tessa said...

WHY. WHY! Did they separate that family! God, the ridiculousness of government. I sometimes totally agree with libertarians. The Government should stay out of it! Can't they see how happy the family was!?! Why would they put that bear in a ZOO?!? Zoos can be so awful. Those poor people, that poor bear.
Amity you seriously have to keep us updated if anything happens.

Sean Wraight said...

WOW! Where do you manage to find the most compelling of stories ? I read your post a day ago and its still haunting me now. I just feel so bad for this family and the bear.

Tessa is right. You have to keep us updated on this one. Or we start some grassroots blog effort to make this one right somehow.

Great stuff as always dear A.


amityb said...

I promise to monitor this story y'all. I just feel compelled to share stories that make me cry is all. If you can't find them, you're not looking in the right places. There are beautifully poetic tragedies going on around us all the time, just stop and look.

Hip E. said...

Allow me to play devil's advocate before I actually watch the video and have my tears jerked. It seems like governmental bodies like whatever wildlife protection outfit took this sloth bear away from dude have a very important role in preserving and protecting wildlife. To this end, it seems pretty obvious that they need to make sure everybody knows that you can't just go into the woods and kidnap/adopt baby wildlife animals and take them home with you to put in the crib with your baby daughter. In this one case, maybe that was the best thing that could have happened for this dude and even for the sloth bear, but if they let it slide it could cause much larger problems.

Tessa said...

Right, I understand the whole “this sets a precedent” argument. If this man gets to keep this bear, than what stops poachers and people trafficking exotic animals from pointing out this example when they’re caught with beasties. In theory, they have to be fair by prosecuting everyone in violation of this law equally, right?
Sadly, this “for the greater good” argument falls short of justifying this government intervention, and is a typical rationale for individuals wishing to turn a blind eye and give the government carte blanche to enforce laws without closely examining how the prosecutions are affecting families and communities. It’s the idea that the government will continue to enforce a law despite the fact that in some cases, it is doing more harm than good. For example, the War on Drugs.
While allowing this man to simply continue to care for the animal would be problematic (the bear has no doubt been characterized as a “pet”, and the ownership of and demand for exotic pets contributes to illegal animal trafficking, after all), this is clearly a situation where wildlife protection laws fall short of dealing with the complex ways that humans and animals are engaging, and the authorities are performing a disservice to the community by treating this man like a criminal. It is obvious that sending him to jail, his daughter to boarding school, and the bear to the zoo is an extremely damaging outcome, and in my opinion, a failure of the government to effectively deal with this situation. I find it sad that anyone thinks further action does not need to be taken to counter the actions of the government. Yes, people should not keep exotics as pets, but does that mean this man should be in jail right now? Absolutely not.

Hip E. said...

Sounds like we agree. If it's clear that this guy did not know he was breaking the law, and he wasn't trafficking animals, and he isn't one of the real bad guys, then I think a slap on the wrist should have been plenty. Breaking up families and jailing productive members of society does not serve the community.

On the other hand, if they had said "OK, just this once, since it's all so heartwarming, we'll let you keep the sloth bear," it could have led to more otherwise-law-abiding people going off into the woods to get their daughters an adorable baby sloth bear to play with, which, if it happened enough, could be harmful to the populations of both wild sloth bears and daughters. Or you might get a black market going of poachers who go in and kill momma sloth bears so they can bring the cute babies back to town and sell them as pets to otherwise-law-abiding folks with daughters.

Anyway, it sounds like we agree. The guy should not be in jail, and people shouldn't keep endangered sloth bears as pets.

Bobby said...

I have a monkey at home that I spank just like he's one of the family. I'll be damned if the government is going to take that away from me.