Imagine a beautiful, fluffy bear cub. Image she is stolen from her mother, imprisoned behind steel bars on a concrete floor, surrounded by many others of her kind. She is destined to a short and painful life in the bear trade. She is destined to a life where her paws will be cut off individually and served to people as an edible delicacy. Many countries believe a person who eats bear paws will acquire the strength and vigor of a bear. Now imagine this is not a story but the life of a Malayan Sunbear.
Many countries believe a person who eats bear paws will acquire the strength and vigor of a bear. Now imagine this is not a story but the life of a Malayan Sunbear. The barbaric activities of bear farming still take place in many Asian countries but only by the minority. The black market and trade in bears for their parts and bile still consumes thousands of bears a year. This particular story has a happy ending. This story is about a Malayan Sunbear named Otay who was rescued from a life of pain by Free the Bears Fund Incorporated. Otay was one of the lucky ones. In January 2007, 3 year old Otay was rescued by Free the Bears Fund Inc. and taken to one of their sanctuaries before being bough to the National Zoo and Aquarium as part of a cooperative breeding program for the species. Until the bear trade ends, release into the wild is not an option for these rescued animals, because there is still a high risk of poaching. A male Sunbear from the Wellington Zoo NZ, Arataki, was bought to the National Zoo to be a part of this exciting breeding program. Whilst we are yet to hear the pitter-patter of tiny bear feet, there is hope that Otay and Arataki will contribute to their species population. We wait with baited breath. You can find out more about Otay and the many other bears that have been lucky enough to be rescued by Free the Bears Fund Inc. by visiting the website www.freethebears.org and attending the information evening.