I am a sun bear, not your pet

Reuters pic.

Recently, an unusual piece of news regarding a sun bear found roaring in frustration from a locked and empty Desa Pandan condominium window quickly spread across Malaysian newspapers and social media websites.

According to the owner of the apartment, singer Zarith Sofia, she found the bear cub injured at Bukit Ampang and intended on handing the bear over to the authorities eventually.

Whatever the case, the public must be reminded that the sun bear is an endangered species that is struggling just to survive today.

Like many other creatures which had the misfortune of encountering humans, sun bears have become the centrepiece of an illegal and utterly repulsive trade.

Their numbers have already been decimated by deforestation and as though destroying their homes is not horrific enough, sun bears are being painfully harvested for their bile or hunted mercilessly for their meat and body parts.

The exotic animal trade has only worsened matters, with irresponsible people with far too much money deciding that they want a pet more unique than the domestic dog or cat.

An FMT reader, Meera Badmanaban, was moved enough to write a poem about the illicit trade in endangered animals to raise awareness amongst Malaysians, and to remind us that we all have a role to play in putting an end to these barbaric acts.

I AM A SUN BEAR, NOT YOUR PET

I am just a little sun bear.

Protected, supposedly.

Endangered species, rare.

So they say.

Just a small, sweet baby.

You thought I was cute,

Bought me hurriedly,

Locked me in your cage.

We were advertised as exotic pets,

On social media a thriving trade,

Our entire family snared in nets.

I guess I am luckier than them.

My sister was hunted by a greedy poacher,

Her body sold as exotic meat, an aphrodisiac.

Traditional medicine from her gallbladder,

Claws as jewellery, teeth as souvenirs.

Now I am a prisoner in your apartment.

I barely have room to raise my paw.

The pain is unbearable, my body bent,

Hunger has made me weak and weary.

I am just a little sun bear.

But I no longer see the sun.

Though this agony I cannot bear,

Yet there is nowhere to run.