KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 — A singer arrested keeping an endangered sun bear cub in her condominium unit asserted that she mistook the wild creature for a dog.
According to Kosmo Online, Zarith Sofia, a former contestant on the Rockanova reality show, also claimed she had no intention of keeping the six-month-old cub, which she purportedly found in a weak state in Bukit Ampang, Jalan Hulu Langat, last month.
She said she had planned to surrender the sun bear cub to the authorities after it recuperated.
“Actually, I found the bear cub by the roadside in a weak condition at night. At first, I thought it was a dog,” Zarith was quoted saying.
In Malaysia, sun bears are listed as an endangered species and protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, making it an offence to simply possess any specimen of the species.
The Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) yesterday said it detained a 27-year-old woman for keeping the sun bear cub in her Desa Pandan condominium here.
National news agency Bernama reported Perhilitan director-general Datuk Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim as confirming the woman’s arrest under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.
“The woman did not present any document for ownership of that bear,” he was quoted saying.
The cub was rescued from the Sentrio Suites Condominium in Desa Pandan by Perhilitan staff after several residents heard the animal’s cries and spotted it poking its head out of the unit window and contacted the department.
Pictures and a video capturing the sun bear cub in the condo and its rescue quickly circulated through social media.