A licensed-owner had been keeping an adult sun bear locked up as a pet for over 20 years in cruel conditions in a small steel cage at his farmhouse, located about an hour away from Kuching, Sarawak
According to Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), the owner had a valid licence issued by Controller of Wild Life, Forest Department Sarawak (FDS).
"The licence was also renewed every year since the first year keeping the animal," SFC said, adding that the bear has been under the care of the owner for over 20 years.
The sun bear was rescued by SFC on Friday night, 27 September from the farmhouse in Kampung Rasau in Serian
The rescue mission happened after a concern raised by a netizen, SFC Chief Executive Officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton was reported as saying by NST Online.
An enforcement team from the SFC was dispatched to the farmhouse, where the team found the bear in a small cage after conducting an inspection at the premises.
The SFC chief said that the owner was in violation of certain terms and conditions of the licence whereby the cage size was too small.
After explaining the terms and conditions to the owner, the owner willingly surrendered the sun bear. The rescued bear was immediately sent to the Matang Wildlife Centre.
While sun bears are protected under Sarawak's Wild Life Protection Ordinance, 1998, individuals can still apply for an owner's licence
The applicants, however, must comply with terms and conditions of the licence.
"We want to make it clear that such cruelty towards animals must be stopped.
"Capturing, hunting and selling protected wildlife can see a jail term of at least one year and a fine of RM10,000," SFC chief Zolkipli was quoted as saying by The Star Online.
In a statement, the SFC chief said that they will continuously be taking action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species
"This is our commitment to strengthen efforts to address illegal wildlife trade and tackle wildlife crime/abuse. We will continue taking action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna in Sarawak," Zolkipli Mohamad Aton said.
On Wednesday, a seven-year-old sun bear was rescued from a terrace unit at the Demak Laut housing estate: