PETALING JAYA: Singer Zarith Sofia Yasin told a Malay daily that she mistakenly thought that the bear she "rescued" was a dog.
"It was night time when I found the bear cub in a weakened state by the side of the road – and I thought it was dog!" she told Kosmo! In a report published on Sunday (June 9).
Zarith Sofia, a previous contestant on reality show Rockanova told The Star's Malay language portal mStar Online that she found the bear – whom she later named Bruno – in a weakened state near Bukit Ampang about two weeks ago.
She claimed that she was going to hand the animal over to Zoo Negara and did not intend to break the law.
"I know the bear cannot be reared, it can't be kept as a pet.
"I only wanted to save the bear, I had no intention of exploiting it.
"It is true that I went home for Hari Raya – but I didn't let him starve, I left him some food," she told mStar Online.
She claimed that she was going to hand it over to the zoo once it had regained its strength.
"I was worried about sending Bruno to the zoo (while it was ill) because the animals there look skinny," she said.
Zarith added that she had taken good care of the bear and had fed it good food.
"If Bruno could talk, it would surely say the food I gave him was delicious – it ate chocolates!" said the 27-year-old, who is also known as Pia.
She also claimed that she did not keep the bear caged.
"I didn't put him in a cage because I didn't want him to stay there for too long – that would have been even more cruel.
She dismissed claims that she runs a business selling protected wildlife as "crazy".
"I have a business to run during the day and at night, I sing… when do I have time to sell animals?
"This is not the way I make a living. Animals like that are not for sale," she said.
Zarith also said she is ready to face the legal consequences of her actions.
Bernama reported that a female singer was arrested on Friday (June 7) by the Wildlife and National Parks Department for illegally keeping a sun bear cub in her condominium unit.