In good hands: Wong taking posession of Tan-Tan from the Wildlife Department.
KOTA KINABALU: A sun bear cub which was put up for sale by poachers has been rescued by a Good Samaritan, who bought it and gave it to the Sabah Wildlife Department.
The three-month-old animal was taken to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) in Sepilok, Sandakan, on Thursday and has been named Tan-Tan.
Tan-Tan had been put up for sale in the remote Paitan district when it was spotted by the buyer.
The anonymous buyer then handed over the sun bear to the authorities.
Tan-Tan is the 44th rescued sun bear to be placed at the centre since the centre was set up over six years ago.
“The cub has been put under quarantine. It is being given round-the-clock care by our staff,” said centre founder and chief executive officer Wong Siew Te.
At present, the centre cares for 35 sun bears.
The centre’s website states that sun bears are also known as honey bears (beruang madu) because of their fondness for honey.
“They are often found in appalling conditions; without a home, a mother, or left to rot in tiny cages,” said the website.
Wong said it was important for the public to understand that buying sun bears would encourage poachers to capture the animal for profit.
“We want to thank the person who bought the cub and sent it to the Wildlife Department.
“The best way to help a sun bear or other wildlife being traded is to report the matter to the department immediately,” he said.
“This will allow law enforcement officers to go after and prosecute those found selling protected animals or their parts. We have to avoid buying wildlife. When the buying stops, the poaching and killing will stop, too.”
Wong said the cost of caring for sun bears was huge.
He appealed to the public to support BSBCC through donations or by adopting bears like Tan-Tan.
Details on the adoption programme is available at http://www.bsbcc.org.my/donate.html or http://www.bsbcc.org.my/adopt.html.