Captive sun bears series I: Because they are cute!

Its all started here: sun bear cubs are cute, they are so cute and adorable, way from any body’s imagination. If you think puppies are cute or kittens are cute or baby orangutans are cute or human babies are cute, think again after you see a sun bear cub!

And also because sun bears are the smallest bears in the world and so cute, they make a perfect pet (well, I do not think so). This is where it all started: Sun bear cubs are being captured and sell as pets after poachers killed their mother for profit. Bear meat, paws, claws, canines, gallbladder, bear hide, you name it, all have a price tag and people willing to pay good money for bear products.

Back in 2000, a friend who visited me in Danum where I did my first sun bear ecology study told me that he saw some one trying to sell a small sun bear cub at Gaya Street Pasar Tamu, Kota Kinabalu’s famous Sunday market, just few days ago. The cub was priced at few hundred ringgit. Beside this poor cub was her mother, chopped into pieces, sell for meat. I was in complete stunned and don’t know what to say.
Photo by Gabriella Fredrikksson

Of each of the cute sun bear we see in captivity, there is a heartbreaking story to tell that we do not see. Yes, they are so cute. But no, they are so sad…

To be continue..

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