Mexico fines firefighters, others for bear abuse
MEXICO CITY (AP) - A photograph showing firefighters and civil defence personnel holding down a young, bound bear spread-eagled and pulling its ears has sparked outrage in Mexico and brought down fines on Friday on those involved.
Black bears are bouncing back in Mexico after being hunted to near-extinction 40 years ago. And after two years of drought, forest fires and hot weather are causing larger numbers to wander into populated areas, where they face traditions of brutal bear capture and baiting left over from the old days.
The 3-year-old female bear caught this week on the outskirts of Zaragoza, a city in the northern border state of Coahuila, about 50km south-west of Eagle Pass, Texas, is recovering from mouth and paw wounds suffered after being caught by local people and turned over to volunteer firefighters and civil defence workers.
It was the emergency workers who decided to "celebrate" the catch with a photo that someone later distributed on social media sites showing the helpless, bloody-mouthed bear being spread-eagled by ropes tied to each of its paws. One man was pulling its ears.