When Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) heard that a concerned local had obtained a Malayan sun bear from a nearby hunter, they rushed over to rescue the cub. As would be expected, the worried citizen, though their intentions were honorable, hardly had an adequate space for the young and rambunctious creature. When WFFT arrived at the house, they found the bear, Bowie, squished into a very small cage with barely any space, and with a tight rope around her neck which completely restricted her movement.

Bowie is one of the thousands of sun bears in danger of being commercially hunted. In this particular case, the reason for the hunting is not known, but generally sun bears are killed to either: prevent crop damage, settle qualms about bears living near villages, or acquire sun bear cubs for the pet trade. The bear population has also been significantly reduced due to the commercial exploitation of these animals for the grotesquely invasive bear bile farming industry which painfully extracts bile from animals’ gallbladders for medicinal use.

Local hunters in one area of Thailand even estimated that 50 percent of the sun bear population has been reduced in the past 20 years! In addition to these dangers, sun bears also have to deal with major losses to their habitat. In the past 30 years, large-scale deforestation throughout Southeast Asia has left sun bears with but a sliver of the amount of land they used to rely on.

Clearly this extensive problem cannot be solved overnight. But organizations like the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) are doing their part, one bear at a time.

Upon rescuing Bowie, WFFT workers transported her to one of their hospitals for a much-needed checkup.

Bowie was understandably scared, but the gentle nature of WFFT’s workers made the process go as smoothly as possible.

Rescuers estimate that Bowie is about four or five months old. Due to her young age, she is currently receiving special care from the foundation’s vet team.

They’re keeping a close eye on Bowie.

In the wild, she would still be extremely dependent on her mother, drinking her milk and following her every move!

While the loving presence of her mother is irreplaceable, she still enjoys taking walks with the WFFT vet team.

Her caretakers hope to introduce Bowie to a group of sun bears when she grows up so that she can play freely like she deserves!


Thanks to the amazing work by WFFT, this sun bear is getting a second chance at life and is receiving the love and care all she, and all animals in general, deserve. We hope that she makes a full recovery from her traumatic experience, and is able to share the companionship of fellow sun bears in the future. To learn more about Bowie, and the other animals rescued by WFFT, visit their page!

All images source: Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand/Facebook