Sun Bear Rescue 2016

On 10 May 2016 SCW rescued a baby sun bear in cooperation with Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB), Wildlife Alliance and Free The Bears Fund (FTBF). The female cub was discovered by SCW staff during a field mission in a village in Ratanakiri. She was confiscated and given into the hands of Free The Bears Fund. FTBF’s aim is to rehabilitate bears and release them back to the wild. Meanwhile, FTBF provides world-class sanctuaries.

The Malayan sun bear is also known as honey bear, because of his love for honey-combs and honey. Sun bears are classified as vulnerable, i.e. high risk of endangerment in the wild, by The International Union for The Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The shrinking population is mainly threatened by  large-scale deforestation. Scientists estimate that the global sun bear population declined by more than 30% over the past three bear generations.

Sun bears are often poached for their gall bladders (traditional Chinese medicine) and bear-paws (delicacy). This is most likely what happened to the mother of SCW’s rescued sun bear cub. However, hunting and killing sun bears is strictly prohibited under national wildlife protection laws.

It is the 3rd most profitable illegal action in the world. This shows that no matter how high the penalties are, or how efficient the patrols and police work: illegal hunting of sun bears will continue until the mindset of people changes.

An estimated 12,000 bears are farmed for bile (gall bladder) in China, South Korea, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar even though laws against that have been installed in recent years.

The bears are kept in tiny cages, unable to move. They suffer from severe pain, especially when the bile fluid is removed either through surgery or open wound catheters.