‘Alien-Like’ Sun Bear From Viral Video Succumbs To Cancer

The hairless, “alien-like” creature first made headlines back in January. The diseased sun bear was spotted on the edges of a palm oil plantation and was frightened off by stick-wielding workers. The sun bear was eventually captured and was getting treatment for her many ailments. Unfortunately, the ill bear could not overcome her diseases and died on May 18.

The diseased sun bear was first spotted at the end of January. The Indonesian workers who first saw her were scared of the creature’s appearance, saying she looked “Alien-like” or “Gollum-like.” The scared plantation workers scared the sun bear off with sticks. She made her slow escape back into the forest for about a month.

When the video of the fleeing sun bear gained popularity, many people immediately recognized the creature for what it was: a very sick sun bear. Teams of rescuers set out trying to find the ill animal, but to no avail. Finally, after eight weeks of searching, the sun bear was again seen on a palm oil plantation, near where she had first been filmed.

Workers on this plantation captured the sun bear and called the authorities.

The sick animal was immediately taken to the Matang Wildlife Centre for rehabilitation. The Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) hoped that the sun bear would make a full recovery. At first, it seems like she might.

In April, the diseased sun bear was doing well. She was eating and gaining weight slowly and steadily. She still remained hairless, but the workers at the Wildlife Centre were still hopeful of a full recovery for the endangered animal.

Sadly, the good news was short lived. The sun bear had suddenly stopped eating and was vomiting profusely. She had been sick for over a week. Medical staff sedated her and started to administer fluids intravenously. A stomach tube was put in place for feeding her.

However, the sun bear was very ill and died of her afflictions late Monday night.

The Star Online reports that the SFC did a full autopsy on the sun bear that revealed advanced stages of cancer.

“Unfortunately, it succumbed to cancer with metastasis in the lymph nodes and adjacent organs as well as obstruction in the stomach due to a tumour… Cancer aside, the bear had probably reached the end of its natural life span.”

Official previously thought that the sun bear was just a full adult. The autopsy showed that the diseased sun bear was actually quite old and had lived a full life before becoming ill.

Cancer is not the best way to leave this world, but at least this sun bear lived a longer life than previously thought.

[Photo via Sarawak Forestry Corporation]