A caged sun bear in the porch of a terrace house in Demak Laut, Kuching has been spotted by a member of the public
Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) national council member Musa Musbah received information that the bear had been locked up like that for seven years, The Star reported.
Musa, who is also MNS Miri chairman, said the owner of the sun bear has a license issued by the Forest Department Sarawak (FDS) to keep it.
"How can this be? At the national and state levels, sun bears are totally protected and cannot be captured," Musa said.
"The sun bear in this case is clearly in distress. I have ground contacts who went to the scene and saw the sun bear in great distress," he added.
Musa described the cage as a "tiny hell" where the bear kept biting the steel bars in attempts to free itself
The cage is placed outside the house which is visible to passers-by, based on a viral post shared by Facebook user Sandra Wong Jye Wen.
"The bear was just pacing around in the cage that is clearly not big enough for it. With no enrichments of any sort, surrounded only by steel bars," Wong wrote in the post.
"The bear stood up and looked at me for awhile, putting his nose through the bars, and then sat down looking at his own paws. I was so heartbroken," she added.
Wong said a friend of hers had lodged a report to the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) a week earlier, but was told that the owner has a permit to keep the sun bear
She said FDS will be running a check on the cage again and if it complies with the standards, no action will be taken.
"I mean they have been checking for the past seven years I believe," Wong continued.
"So if they really comply with the standards. They'll just continue to let them keep the bear like that?
"How was the permit even issued in the first place for a private individual to keep? This is not acceptable in any way," she lamented.
Sun bears are the smallest bears in the world and are classified 'vulnerable' in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List
The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) explained on its website that sun bears have a life expectancy of 30 years with the fertility rate of one offspring on average.
It is the only species of bear that can be found in Southeast Asia.
The reason that led to its vulnerable status is due to the loss of habitat, a direct result of plantation development, unsustainable or illegal logging, and human-caused fires.