- Written by Nev Broadis
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Cambodia Rescue 193
On Wednesday 11th May 2016 Free the Bears welcomed its newest arrival to the Cambodian Bear Sanctuary – a 1.8kg Sun bear cub. The young female bear was confiscated from hunters in the northeast of the country, in Ratanakiri Province, a day earlier by the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team. The team travelled overnight from this remote province and arrived in the early hours of the morning. The hunters had tried to sell the cub but were unsuccessful; local people raised the alarm to the plight of this young endangered species.
Thin and dehydrated, the cub, named by its rescue number – Rescue 193 – opted to sleep upon arrival at the Free the Bears Cub Nursery at the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre. After a turbulent few days, rest is vital and once she had woken she was treated to her first proper meal since being taken from her mother. She sucked down a bottle of formula, took one look at her new carer, Mr Heng, and fell asleep again.
Sun bears are threatened in Cambodia by rapid habitat loss and hunting. Large swathes of their natural habitat is being turned over to development and agricultural projects leaving them at risk of being captured by hunters looking to make money by selling them into the illegal wildlife trade. This year has seen a record dry spell further increasing the pressure on this ecologically important species as wild animals struggle to find fresh water supplies in the forest.
The bear cub will remain at the Cub Nursery for the next 6 months while she grows under the watchful eye of Programme Manager Chuon Vuthy and his dedicated team of bear keepers.
“It is likely that this bear cub’s mother was killed by hunters; a cub of this age would have been with its mother who would fiercely protect her” said Vuthy. “She is safe here now, but this represents at least two more Sun bears that have been removed from the forests of Cambodia further threatening an already endangered species.
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