By Ari Susanto
Solo. The Jurug zoo in Surakarta, also known as Solo, has added a young male sun bear — sometimes called a honey bear — to its menagerie. The bear was given by an animal collector in Solo through the Natural Resources Conservation Agency, or BKSDA,so it could receive better care.
“The bear is now quarantined for adjustment. It was evacuated to the zoo without being anesthetized as the bear was tamed by its previous keeper, who had cared for it since it was a baby,” the operational director of Jurug zoo, Windu Winarso, said on Saturday.
The bear is 18 months old and in good health. After observation, it will be placed along with other two female honey bears living in the zoo.
The zoo administrator promised to provide proper living space for it with careful caring to protect it from disease and death.
Windu explained that the sun bear is a species protected by law under the auspices of the Forestry Ministry, so BKSDA had full authority to monitor the zoo’s management over the endangered species.
The Surakarta BKSDA head, Johan Setiawan, said the bear had been kept by an animal lover and collector named Yuwono since it was three months old. The keeper bought it from a trader at an animal market for Rp 2.5 million ($208) without any legal documentation.
As it grew, the keeper realized it was more difficult to care the animal, including providing a large enough cage, so he eventually contacted the local BKSDA office to turn over the animal.
“He previously called for evacuation to the state authority so we did not prosecute him through legal channels, but we warned him for owning a protected animal instead,” Johan said.
The sun bear has been listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)since 1979. However, its natural habitat in the tropical forests of Sumatra and Kalimantan are seriously threatened as they are shrunk through rapid deforestation.
Although the species is protected by law from animal poaching, trading and killing, humans remain the bear’s main enemy. The animal is poached for its organs to trade on illegal markets as traditional medicine.