Bear­ing the bur­den

Canning Gazette - - LIFESTYLE -

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.

Pic­ture: Free the Bears Pic­ture: Na­dia Budi­hardjo

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.

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