Rare Sun Bear Dies After Illness In Tourist Resort Cage

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These are the appalling conditions one of the world’s rarest bears faced before developing a severe infection while caged at a tourist resort.

The Helarctos malayanus, better known as sun bear, was being kept along with three others at the Bukit Merah Laketown Resort located in the Bagai Serai commune in the state of Perak north-western in Malaysia.

Video Credit: AsiaWire/@mfotanimals

Images taken before the animal’s death show a severe fungal infection in its lower jaw and massively inflamed bleeding flesh around its jaw.

Meanwhile, the video, reportedly taken at the resort in 2015 shows a sun bear at the same resort pacing back and forth in its small cage.

Credit: AsiaWire
Back in January 2019, Malaysian Friends of the Animals tweeted: “This Sun Bear is seriously sick, lost its teeth, yet kept in a disgusting way at Ecopark Zoo Bukit Merah Laketown Resort.”

Animal rights group Malaysian Friends of the Animals sent the images of the bear to Friends of Orang Utan director Upreshpal Singh, who then got in contact with the Bukit Merah Laketown Resort.

Singh says the resort eventually told him that the bear had been put down to end its suffering on the advice of an independent vet and the Wildlife and National Parks Department.

Singh says his team had seen the cages before and saw them as “completely unsuitable for the complex needs of the sun bears”.

Reports state the Bukit Merah Laketown Resort have listed their ‘Ecopark’ attraction where the animals are kept as ‘closed for maintenance’ since February this year.

The bear is listed as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN )

Credit: AsiaWire
The sun bear enclosures from Ecopark Zoo

Kanda Kumar, an advisor at the Malaysian Nature Society Penang, said they had not received a complaint about the treatment of the animals being kept at the resort. 

He says a team would have been deployed if a complaint had been received and added that the bear’s euthanization must have been approved by the Wildlife and National Parks Department as it is illegal to put down sun bears without authorisation because they are protected.

The sun bear is threatened as 30 percent of its natural habitat has been destroyed in the last 30 years, according to reports.

The bear is native to tropical forest habitats in Southeast Asia. 

To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Alex CopeSub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: AsiaWire

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