A sun bear, that was seen caged outside a Kuching house, has finally been rescued after being locked up for seven years
Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) enforcement teams rescued the sun bear from the terrace house in Demak Laut at 4pm yesterday, 25 September, reported The Star.
SFC chief executive officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton said the owner refused to surrender the bear.
"Our team rescued the sun bear and it was taken to the Matang Wildlife Centre immediately for [a] medical examination," said Zolkipli, as quoted by Today Online.
"After having been locked up for years, the sun bear needs to undergo some rehabilitation programme before a decision is made on whether it is fit to be released and returned to the wild," he added.
It was previously revealed that the owner was issued a licence to keep the sun bear
However, when asked about it, Zolkipli declined to comment.
According to him, the decision to issue licences falls under Forest Department Sarawak's (FDS) jurisdiction.
He explained that a licence for keeping a sun bear can be applied for, but applicants must comply with the terms and conditions.
Zolkipli urged licensed owners of protected animals to willingly surrender them to the SFC before problems arise
As for those who illegally possess these animals, Zolkipli also suggested that they surrender the animals to the SFC or action will be taken against them.
He said that sun bears are protected under Sarawak's Wild Life Protection Ordinance 1998.
Anyone found killing, keeping, selling, or buying the animal or its derivatives can be prosecuted under the law, which results in a RM10,000 fine or a year's jail.
In an update, the Facebook user who originally posted the viral post thanked those who helped to rescue the bear, as well as netizens who shared the story
"Now let's hope that Matang Wildlife Center will take a good care of it, pamper it, and provide it with a more suitable environment to stay in," wrote Sandra Wong Jye Wen.
She also hopes that FDS will be more cautious in issuing such licences in the future and that the local government revises the state law to better protect vulnerable animals.
Previously, Wong’s emotional account of meeting the sun bear went viral and was brought to the attention of authorities: