Nature lovers upset sun bear allowed to be kept as pet

MIRI: Nature lovers are up in arms after finding a sun bear, a totally protected species, locked up under cruel conditions in a residential home in Demak Laut housing estate in Kuching.

The person keeping the bear reported has a licence to do so.

Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) national council member Musa Musbah, who is also MNS Miri chairman, said on Tuesday (Sept 24) that he had received an SOS from a member of the public over the case.

"The sun bear is locked up in a small steel enclosure in a house in Demak Laut in Kuching.

"I have spoken with my MNS counterparts in Kuching and also with the forestry authorities. Apparently, the Sarawak Forest Department issued a licence to the resident to keep the sun bear.

"How can this be?

"At the national and state levels, sun bears are totally protected and cannot be captured.

"The sun bear in this case is clearly in distress. I have ground contacts who went to the scene and saw the sun bear in great distress," Musa told reporters.

He said the information he received was that the sun bear had been kept locked up like that for more than seven years.

"The steel cage is like a tiny hell. The sun bear keeps biting the steel bars trying to free itself.

"I pray that the state authorities will rescue this poor animal. Sarawak must stop such cruelty to animals," he said.

The Star has forwarded Musa's comments to the Sarawak Forestry Corporation, which is the enforcement arm of the wildlife laws. It is a separate agency from the Sarawak Forest Department, which is a state government agency responsible for licensing.

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