SHE arrived at a sanctuary underweight, dehydrated and unhealthy. But the life of this young female sun bear could have been a lot worse – she was on the brink of being sold on the black market.
Charity organisation Free the Bears welcomed its newest arrival, who was named Rescue 193, to the Cambodian Bear Sanctuary on May 11.
The cub, who weighed in at just 1.8 kilograms on arrival, will stay at the nursery for the next six months under the watchful eye of program manager Chuon Vuthy and the team of bear keepers.
Mr Vuthy said he thought the cub’s mother would have died at the hands of humans.
“It’s likely that this bear cub’s mother was killed by hunters; a cub of this age would have been with its mother who would have fiercely protected her,” Mr Vuthy said. “She is safe here now, but this represents at least two more sun bears that have been removed from the forests of Cambodia, which further threatens an already endangered species.”
The cub had been confiscated in the northeast Cambodia after local people had discovered hunters were attempting to sell it.
Rescue 193 was one of five cub rescues this year.
Many of the rescues were destined for sale on the black
Confined to small cages, bears in bile farms are milked for their stomach bile, which is used in Asian medicines.
Poaching and killing for body parts are also common among bears throughout East and Southeast Asia.
In an effort to raise funds to accommodate the ever-growing number of rescue bears in Cambodia, Free the Bears will hold a quiz night in South Perth this month.
A Free the Bears spokesperson said the charity event would help raise money to accommodate the high calibre of bears being saved.
“As with all charities, at the moment we are experiencing a situation of less donations coming in when we are in need of them more than ever,” the spokesperson said.
More information at www.freethebears.org.