In a tragic video that went viral months ago, a hairless animal was seen dragging itself through the remnants of a palm plantation in Borneo. That mysterious animal turned out to be an ill and desperately hurt sun bear that was attacked by frightened workers.
Now, we have an update.
"The bear is in a good and safe place," said Nickson Robi, from the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), to The Dodo. "She has eaten the food and drank the water we gave. But she still is hairless and sick, and we need to find out what the sickness is.”
Ever since the video went viral, a search and rescue team from the SFC has been scouring the region for the sun bear. Finally, on Wednesday their hard work paid off, reports The Borneo Post.
The bear will be taken to the Matang Wildlife Centre in Kuching, said Robi. He thanked the plantation workers for their help in catching the sick animal.
“The workers were on their way to work when they saw the animal and caught it after that. They brought the animal to the plantation office before we informed Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC)," said the plantation manager.
A healthy sun bear. Molly Marshall / Shutterstock
The sun bear is classified as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List due to the deforestation of their natural habitat and commercial exploitation. Their gall bladders are used in Chinese folk medicine, their paws are considered a delicacy and orphaned cubs are sold into the pet trade. Killing sun bears is illegal, however the law is largely uncontrolled.
A healthy sun bear has black fur with a golden-brown horseshoe crest on their chest; they have a stocky build with somewhat bowed legs and very long claws. Adult sun bears weigh between 60 to 150 pounds (27 to 70 kilograms) and reach 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters) in length. They also have exceptionally long tongues, which allow them to swash it around in bee hives for honey.
"I just took the bear to our wildlife center here," said Robi. "We are hoping that the bear will recover quickly, so we can put her back [in] the wild."