The sick sun bear, once deemed to be an alien due to it’s strange outward appearance, is healing slowly with the help of caregivers at the Matang Wildlife Centre.
The bear was first seen at the end of January when scared Indonesian plantation workers frightened her off with sticks. The workers filmed the diseased bear escaping back into the wilderness that surrounds the farms. Almost two months later, on April 2, the creature was seen again. This time at a different palm oil plantation. Workers at this one captured the sun bear and called the appropriate authorities.
According to the Malaysian Star Online, the diseased sun bear is under the care of Dr. Silje Robertsen, a volunteer veterinarian from Norway. She is doing better, though she is still remains in quarantine to help minimize external disturbances. She is weak but alert and able to eat and climb trees.
The Sarawak Forestry Corporation released a statement with an update of her diagnosis and progress.
“As of today, the animal is alert, able to climb and to eat normally. The sun bear is still kept in quarantine, as she is still weak and suffering from hook worms, mite infestation and moderate anaemia. In the meantime, her treatment will continue based on a carbohydrate-rich diet with food supplements, antibiotics and protein.”
The recovery of the sick sun bear will be a long one. The poor creature has been suffering for some time out in the wild. Officials hope that once she is healthy again, the sun bear can be released back into her home habitat. However, due to her prolonged illness, veterinarians are not sure the animal will be able to make a complete recovery.
Since the bear was rescued on April 2, the Matang Wildlife Centre has had numerous inquiries to see the sick animal. The viral video of the “Alien-like” or “strange creature” stirred up public interest enough to make people want to see the bear for themselves.
Sun bear numbers in the wild are getting lower with every passing year. Due to land cultivation for Palm oil plantations, the bears have less room to live and breed. The more sun bears there are in captivity, the less there will be in the wild, which is why officials hope that this particular bear will become well enough to live on her own again.
[Photo via Sarawak Forestry Corporation/The Dodo]