Abused bears: Sabah Wildlife Dept cover up continues

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From Sean Whyte and Jennifer Yeap

It was back in early October when we first reported two young sun bears being held illegally and in very inhumane conditions at the Tawau Hot Springs Recreational Park, Sabah.

Subsequent reports to Sabah’s Wildlife Department and Minister Masidi Manjun went unanswered.

Why would they not be interested in these bears? Alarm bells were ringing in our heads.

Before long the two bears and their cages were removed out of the public’s and NGO’s sight.

In mid-December a spokesperson for the Tawau Hot Springs Recreational Park, Sabah, announced to the media both bears had been released back into the forest. Something we now know to have been a pack of lies. Sadly, both news portals that published this untrue report have yet to issue a correction.

We know the statement was a lie because low and behold last week the Sabah Wildlife Department claimed in the media both bears were to be handed over to them in the next few days!

Inexplicably, the Sabah Wildlife Department are now going to place both bears into the shabby Lok Kawi Zoo. Why, when the nearby and highly regarded Bornean sun bear rescue centre exists solely to care for bears like those two?

Why dump both bears in the hands of incompetent individuals when experts are nearby? Why? Answers to these questions are as elusive as ever when attempting to obtain the truth from SWD and its minister.

There you have it. More secrecy. More wild animals abused and neglected in Sabah. No one in government, who should care, does. It’s been this way for as long as anyone can remember, which explains why the rhino is extinct in Sabah, and a list of other species as long as your arm are facing a very uncertain future.

Sean Whyte is CEO of Nature Alert and Jennifer Yeap is with Friends of the Animals.

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