KUCHING, Sept 24 — After a case in which a sun bear cub was ‘mistaken’ for a dog and kept in a condominium in Kuala Lumpur, last June, another one was allegedly spotted here, locked up in a cage at a residential home in Demak Laut housing estate.

The protected wildlife was spotted by a concerned citizen who then posted it on Facebook which had by now been shared by 665 netizens.

According to the post, the bear was seen placed in a steel-bar cage without enrichment of any sorts.

It was also understood that a report had also been lodged with the Sarawak Forestry Corporation, the enforcement arm of the wildlife laws in the state, last week, who had then informed that they were aware of the case and the owner had a permit to keep it.

Malaysia Nature Society national council member, Musa Musbah, who had ground contacts and had gone to the scene confirmed the case to Bernama.

He said he was informed that the steel cage was like a tiny ‘hell’ and the sun bear kept biting the steel bars trying to free itself.

“I pray that the state authorities will rescue this poor animal. Sarawak must stop such cruelty to animals,” he said.

Commenting on the case, Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) director-general Datuk Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim told Bernama that the sun bear is listed as protected animal, be it in the Peninsular or Labuan which fall under his department’s jurisdiction or Sarawak and Sabah under state government.

He said that according to the wildlife policy, members of the public were not allowed to keep bears because they were categorised as ferocious and there were only a few of the animals left in the Malaysian forest, adding that the bear could grow up to 100kg.

In Sarawak, the bear or its scientific name Helarctos malayanus is protected under the Wild Life Protection Ordinance, 1998, where those found guilty of hunting or possessing the protected animals whether dead or alive or possessing just their parts without a license could be fined RM10,000 and one year imprisonment.

Meanwhile, World Wide Fund for Nature Malaysia in a statement had called for the sun bear to be surrendered to the authorities for rehabilitation, stressing that the wildlife are not domesticated animals and therefore should be left in their natural habitat.

“The sun bear should not have been kept as a pet in the first place. Sun bears require a large space for their daily activities, and can be active during the day and night. Small space restricts their movements and can be stressful for the animal.

“Furthermore, sun bears display erratic behaviours at times, and can be dangerous. Therefore we should never keep this animal close to human populated areas. Animals that are kept in non-conducive environment should be surrendered to the authority, and not released anyhow into the wild.” the statement said.

Bernama however failed to get in touch with the Sarawak Forestry Corporation. — Bernama