Something 'very wrong' with Sun Bear in viral video, say conservationists

Something 'very wrong' with Sun Bear in viral video, say conservationists

PETALING JAYA - A Sun Bear, which some have described as an "alien-like creature" in a viral video is very likely suffering from some kind of ailment, say conversationists.

A video of the bear, which has been circulating on social media and messaging apps, depict a hairless creature in an oil palm plantation struggling to get away from the people filming the video.

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre chief executive officer and founder Wong Siew Te said that something was very wrong with the bear.

However, he added they could merely speculate what the animal was suffering from until it was captured for thorough examination and testing.

"The bear may have been poisoned by pesticides or herbicides, he said, explaining that it could have ingested the poison in a myriad of ways.

"They can also wind up sick due to a slow accumulation of toxic chemicals in their bodies. This is a chronic problem," said Wong.

"The other possibility is disease, where mite-like parasites could cause an animal to lose their hair. Alternatively, the third possibility is a yet-to-be-discovered disease," said Wong.

He called on the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the area the video was taken, adding that it was abnormal to see Sun Bears in oil palm estates in daylight.

Malaysian Nature Society Kuching chairman Anthony Sebastian also called on the authorities to find and examine the bear to see what exactly was causing its illness.

Sebastian dispelled comments that the bear was an abnormal animal or an alien as had been speculated online.

"It is clearly a Sun Bear. What confuses people is the lack of fur. It is not some strange alien that has fallen from the sky," said Sebastian.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Animal Welfare Society president Shenaaz Khan called for more funding and effort to be given to the conservation of Malaysia's wildlife, which includes the Bornean Sun Bear.

"More effort, focus and resources should be given to the conservation of our indigenous Malaysian wildlife such as sun bears. Here we have a sun bear that succumbed to illness, and this is just one case that we know of," said Shenaaz.

She added policies must be put in place to address issues faced by these animals to protect and conserve Malaysia's indigenous wildlife.

"You can't expect plantation workers to know how to deal with these animals. Policies have to be in place to protect and conserve our indigenous wildlife.

"The Sarawak Forestry Corporation needs to find and rescue this bear to investigate if it was poisoned or if it was injured. But first, we need to rescue the bear," said Shehnaaz.

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