Bearing the burden
FIVE bear cubs were rescued in a historic mission by a Perth-based not-forprofit organisation, with another mission underway to save two more.
Free the Bears Fund founder Mary Hutton was alerted to reports from the Laos government of illegal activities involving bear cubs aged from three to nine months old.
“We originally were told there were two Asiatic moon bears to be rescued up in the northwest of Laos,” Dr Hutton said.
“They were in very poor health; they’ve only been fed on rice and pretty well malnourished.”
As the team began their mission to rescue the two bears, they were told of another three bear cubs in the area being ill-treated, leading to three rescue missions on August 19.
Dr Hutton said this was the largest mission conducted in a single day by the organisation and the rescued cubs were expertly cared for at the Luang Prabang Sanctuary in Laos.
Perth Zoo has been supporting Free the Bears for about a decade and six sun bears to date have lived at the zoo after being rescued by the organisation.
Perth Zoo zookeepers Karen Rotherham and Marty Boland with Free the Bears founder Mary Hutton. Top left: One of the bear cubs before the Laos rescue.