Sun bear freed after two decades

MIRI: An adult sun bear locked up for over 20 years in a small steel cage is the latest rescue by an enforcement team from the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), the fourth such incident this year.

The animal, which was kept in a cage the size of a small chicken coop, was rescued at about 9pm on Friday from a farm house in Kg Rasau near Serian, some 50km from Kuching.

In a statement, SFC chief executive officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton said it ordered the rescue to be carried out after finding that the sun bear was kept in such cruel conditions.

“The owner told us that he has obtained a licence to keep the sun bear after he bought it from someone more than 20 years ago.

Good work: SFC personnel rescuing the sun bear from the farm house in Kampung Rasau.Good work: SFC personnel rescuing the sun bear from the farm house in Kampung Rasau.

SFC revoked the licence as the conditions it was kept in were cruel.

“We want to make it clear that such cruelty towards animals must be stopped.

“Capturing, hunting and selling protected wildlife can see a jail term of at least one year and a fine of RM10,000, ” he said.

The rescue came about after an informant who saw its picture on Facebook told The Star, which then tipped off the SFC.

This is the second time in two days the SFC has rescued a caged bear in cruel conditions in Sarawak and the third time nationwide.

On Thursday, the SFC rescued a sun bear, which was kept in a small cage for seven years, from a house in Demak Laut residential estate in Kuching.

The animal was later sent to the Matang Wildlife Sanctuary for rehabilitation.

Un-bear-able: The sun bear in the cage that it was kept in for 20 years in Kampung Rasau, Sarawak.Un-bear-able: The sun bear in the cage that it was kept in for 20 years in Kampung Rasau, Sarawak.

In June this year, residents of Sentrio Suites Condominium in Desa Pandan, Kuala Lumpur, were shocked to find a baby sun bear living in one of the units.

The cub was later rescued by officers from the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan).

In August, Johor Perhilitan acted on a tip-off and detained a 52-year-old-man for keeping, among others, a sun bear cub with a permit.

Zolkipli called on those with information about wildlife abuses to call its hotlines at 019-885 9996 (Kuching), 019-888 3561 (Sibu), 019-822 3449 (Bintulu) or 019-829 0994 (Miri).

The Sarawak Forest Department is the licensing authority for forest matters in this state. SFC is a separate entity responsible for enforcement.

The latest rescued sun bear, weighing about 85kg, has been sent to the Matang Wildlife Sanctuary.

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