Sun bears – one of the world’s smallest (and arguably the most adorable) bear species – are frequently targeted by humans and captured from their wild home in Southeast Asia’s Borneo Rainforest. Some bears are poached for their gallbladders and paws, while others (mainly babies) are taken alive and held captive as illegal pets.
In the latter case, sun bear owners soon discover that they cannot care for a growing sun bear since they require needs no human could ever provide in a home environment (naturally, because sun bears are wild animals — hello!). This is where the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC), located in Sabah, Malaysia, comes in.
The BSBCC is at the forefront of sun bear advocacy. The nonprofit works “to promote sun bear conservation in Borneo through animal welfare, conservation, rehabilitation, education and research – giving captured sun bears a better home and restoring their right to live in the wild,” as the BSBCC’s website states.
Recently, the BSBCC welcomed a new sun bear resident to its sanctuary (which is now open to the public).
Adorable one-year-old Loki was found in the backyard of an inn, where she was kept as an illegal pet for five months.
She was in very poor condition when she was confiscated by the Sabah Wildlife Department, suffering from malnourishment and emotional trauma.
As the BSBCC reports, her malnourishment was so severe that it caused “her paws to appear too big for her thin body.”
Additionally, she had gone through such emotional stress that she “paced a lot” upon first arriving at the BSBCC on March 24, 2014.
Thankfully, under the loving care of BSBCC staff, Loki’s condition has improved and she is now “very aware of her surroundings and reacts to every sound by standing on her feet,” the BSBCC writes.
What a curious little girl!
However, Loki may take longer to recover than other bears like her as the emotional trauma she suffered as a pet is making it difficult for her to adjust to her new, free life.
“Often times when she enters the exercise pen, she is too afraid to explore the climbing structures or enrichment activities. Instead, she likes to spend her time resting in a big basket where she feels safe,” the BSBCC reports.
The BSBCC is confident that Loki will grow into a strong sun bear and be able to learn the skills she needs to be independent just like one of the BSBCC’s resident sun bear leaders, Natalie.
A bright future awaits sweet little Loki!
Lead Image Source: Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre