Gulabo was one of the star attractions at Van Vihar and seemed to enjoy the company of children. Mostly seen basking on a wooden plank in its open enclosure, Gulabo would shake itself awake on hearing kids squeal and saunter to the edge of the enclosure to give them a good view or fool around with twigs and sticks.
According to foresters, Gulabo was rescued in May 2006 from a street performer who would whip her into walking a tight rope or ‘dance’ to drums. “It had injuries and scars, physical and mental, and carried the trauma for a long time. We put her through a gentle rehabilitation process,” said Van Vihar assistant director Ashok Kumar Jain.
Van Vihar mourns Gulabo’s death
Vets nursed Gulabo back to health and she became a crowd favourite at Van Vihar. Seeing her tackle a watermelon in the heat of summer was a laugh riot. She wasn’t keeping well for the past few months and was shifted to a care centre at the national park. Gulabo’s death has left the entire Van Vihar staff in mourning, Jain said.
“Gulabo was 40 years old, the oldest in the country. It died a natural death on Sunday night,” he added. An autopsy determined the cause of death as failure of internal organs due to old age. It was cremated after post-mortem. Wild Life (SOS) Institute takes care of the health and upkeep of sloth bears at Van Vihar.