When Wang Kaiyu, a villager from Maguan County in China, went to Vietnam in search of companions, he thought he’d found friends for life in two black, fluffy puppies. Wang loved and cared for his puppies, a male and female, nurturing them as they began to grow. And grow.
As the pair began to age, Wang became aware of some unusual and non-"dog-like" behaviors – but clearly didn’t think too much of them. That is, until he saw a wildlife protection promotion about the vulnerable Asiatic black bears and the penny finally dropped.
Realizing that he'd bought two black bears, instead of two dogs, Wang eventually contacted local authorities who removed the pair and placed them in the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre of Yunnan, according to China Daily.
The Asiatic black bear is characterized by a smooth coat of black fur, with a V-shape of white fur on its chest – which are similar markings to some breeds of dog. I guess? The WWF describe the mammal as looking similar to the brown bear – just slighter in build.
Asiatic black bears are listed as vulnerable on the ICUN Red List – found in all of Southeast Asia (except Malaysia), the black bear also occupies parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the ICUN states that several thousands of bears are taken from the wild to be used for bear baiting and dog fights, despite the practice being illegal. Other threats include hunting – for the purpose of harvesting gall bladders popular in China – and loss of habitat. ICUN also explains that black bears are regularly found being kept as pets in Southeast Asian countries. Although how many wear pink diamante collars and are expected to play fetch is unknown.
So the story has a happy ending for the bears as they return to a more natural environment – and we hope that Wang gets over his paw luck and can bear the loss of his docile friends.