'Hairless' sun bear in quarantine weak but able to eat


The sick sun bear in the quarantine enclosure at Matang Wildlife Centre.

The sick sun bear in the quarantine enclosure at Matang Wildlife Centre.

KUCHING: The sick sun bear found near Sibu early this month is now able to eat and climb but remains in quarantine at the Matang Wildlife Centre. 

The bear is currently under the care of Dr Silje Robertsen, a volunteer veterinarian from Norway. 

"As of today, the animal is alert, able to climb and to eat normally.  

"The sun bear is still kept in quarantine, as she is still weak and suffering from hook worms, mite infestation and moderate anaemia," Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) said in a statement on Friday. 

SFC said it was still too early to determine whether the sun bear could make a full recovery as it had been very sick for a prolonged period of time. 

"In the meantime, her treatment will continue based on a carbohydrate-rich diet with food supplements, antibiotics and protein.

"She will remain quarantined to minimise external disturbances," SFC said. 

It added that the wildlife centre had been inundated with calls about the sun bear. 

The centre's manager Siali Aban said there had been many enquiries from visitors wanting to see it. 

The sick sun bear had been spotted in January by Indonesian plantation workers, who were shocked by its strange and hairless appearance. 

Photos and videos of the animal went viral online, attracting many comments on its Gollum-like appearance. 

It was found by workers near a palm oil estate in Meradong district on April 2 and handed over to SFC. 

Sun bears are the smallest of the world's eight bear species and are found throughout mainland Asia, Sumatra and Borneo. 

They are classified as "vulnerable" on the IUCN Red List and are at risk of becoming endangered unless circumstances threatening their survival improve. 

In Sarawak, the sun bear is protected under the Wild Life Protection Ordinance 1998.

 

 

Sibu , sun bear , Sarawak , Matang Wildlife Centre