Terrible life of zoo sun bears, although protected species

sunbear

from: J Raine, via email

I am still reeling from shock having just seen terrible images online of four sun bears kept in abominable conditions at Miri Crocodile Farm in Sarawak.

These poor bears seem to be confined in a deep pit of a concrete prison surrounded by stained, high walls and with nothing but filthy, stagnant water on the ground in place of a clean, fresh pool which all bears need and desire for their well-being.

The entire cell is dank-looking, devoid of any enrichment, and medieval in its structure.

How is this allowed? Sun bears are supposedly a protected species throughout Malaysia, including Sarawak, so this treatment of them is illegal.

It is shameful to keep these inquisitive, intelligent and sensitive animals holed up like criminals.

It would also appear that the bear cub is hauled out to be ‘petted’ for tourist photos – a cruel and thoughtless stunt which should be stopped immediately.

This whole zoo needs to be improved and thoroughly upgraded or, preferably, shut down. It is absolutely vital for the mental and physical welfare of all the animals that are trying to survive in the current diabolical living conditions that things must drastically and swiftly change.

I urge the Sarawak authorities to relocate all the sun bears to the world-renowned Borneon Sun Bear Conservation Centre as a matter of urgency. Nothing less will compensate for the hellish life these bears have so far had to endure.

I am an Australian who has visited Malaysia on many occasions and I have witnessed animal abuse in zoos throughout the country.

It always makes me wonder why the Malaysian government never seems to do anything about this appalling treatment of its country’s captive creatures?

J Raine is an FMT reader

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