Text by Wai Pak Ng
I am not sure you still remember I posted an article about 2 “Panda” that live in a mini zoo in Kudat, Northern Sabah in this blog last year. It is such a shame that my country men name these two Malayan sun bears as "Panda!". Besides that, these two sun bears were kept in a small cemented floor cage without any enrichment and display them to the public to attract more visitors to the zoo. That was a very typical example that wildlife is being manipulated and explioted in this part of the world.
Fortunately, the newly formed Wildlife Rescue Unit from Sabah Wildlife Department carried out an operation to confiscate these two illegal kept sun bears last month and sent to BSBCC. BSBCC promised to give these two rescued “Panda” a new life and a chance to go back to their real home.
According to the rescue report, two sun bears were still infants when they arrived at the local mini zoo in 2008. They were both came from Tawau region, southeastern Sabah, presented as gifts to the zoo owner (probably "gift" with a lot of money involved!"). The owner calls both of them as “Big Big”, with a sign board written as “panda” in English and Chinese. Since then, “Panda” were the main attraction of the zoo. The local is just need to pay as low as RM5 (US$1.50) for adult, and RM3 (US$1.00) for children to visit the zoo.
These two bears are now staying at our quarantine area in the old bear house. They were very tame and get used to the new environment very fast. In their file, I name the male bear as "Kudat", and the female as "Panda". Both of them are quite healthy and bigger size compare to other bears with the same age in our centre. This might due to their heavy meat consumption (they were fed a chicken each day!) by their previous owner at the mini zoo.
Once they pass the quarantine period, Kudat and Panda will be transfer to the new bear house and join with others. I sincerely hope Kudat and Panda's sad story will give our people a clear message: it is not right to exploit wildlife to just amuse our own kind!