Bear res­cue shel­ter in fund-rais­ing bid

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - PENINSULA SNAPSHOT CITY OF SOUTH PERTH -

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 mar­ket or headed for bile farms which still op­er­ate in Laos.

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.

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