Officers raid sunbear farm, come up empty

The Star
Friday April 11, 2008
Officers raid sunbear farm, come up empty

MIRI: Enforcement officers from the Sarawak Asset Protection Unit (SAPU) on Friday raided the private farm here where a sunbear had died after prolonged abuse inside a small iron-cage.
It is also learnt that this farm had more than one sunbear, and it also had many monkeys, gibbons and wild goats.
A team of SAPU enforcement staffs on Friday morning entered the farm, located at Jalan Bakam along the Miri-Bintulu Second Coastal Highway next to the National Service Training Camp, and ended up red-faced.
They tried to enter the farm at about 10am and found the workers there giving them the run-around.
"Tidak tahu. Tak ada bear lagi (Don't know. No more bears)," were the answers these enforcement staffs obtained from workers at the farm.
The officers found some torn-down shacks believed to have been used to house some of these animals.
They could find no trace of the bears. The entire farm measures a huge 400 acres in size from one end to the other, encompassing forests and a hill.
SAPU enforcement chief for Miri Division, Rudolf Gerang, on Friday admitted that the operation drew a complete blank.
"The place is huge. We had a look around but we could not find any animals. The workers said they do not know anything. We are now trying to find out who is directly in charge of this place," he said.
SAPU and the Wildlife Department are units under the direct supervision of the Sarawak Forestry.
Asked why SAPU and the Wildlife Department did not act on the complaints lodged last August by South African expatriate Tweet Gainsborough, Gerang could not give any satisfactory explanation.
"I have checked the files and it is confirmed that the South African had furnished us her complaints plus photos of the sunbear being confined in the small cage since last year.
"I checked with the Wildlife Department and they confirmed that the sunbear was still alive inside the cage last year after the complaints were received.
"We (SAPU) have reopened this file for further investigation," he stressed.

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