All You Need to Know About the “Sun Bear Trapped in A Condo” Incident

all you need to know about the “sun bear trapped in a condo” incidentMain image via Mashable SEA

News about the sun bear appearing at a condominium in Kuala Lumpur has been the talk of the town this week, and as the case develops, here’s a recap on what we know so far.  

Okay, jap. So what happened?

Here’s a timeline of what happened so far:

Thursday, 6 June: According to The Star, the incident first went viral on Facebook and WhatsApp when residents of the Sentrio Suites Condominium in Desa Pandan, Kuala Lumpur, heard a loud roar and spotted the sun bear cub from the windows of one of the units. The authorities arrived subsequently to investigate the case and took custody of the cub as the unit owner did not have the legal documents to keep the cub.

Friday, 7 June: The Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (Perhilitan) arrested the unit owner, who has now been identified as a 27-year-old singer, at 8pm under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 for keeping an endangered wild animal without permission.

all you need to know about the “sun bear trapped in a condo” incidentImage via The Star

Sunday, 9 June: The singer, Zarith Sofia Yasin, told Kosmo! that she rescued the cub from the side of the road near Bukit Ampang, thinking it was a dog, and that she would send it to the zoo once it had regained its health. Meanwhile, Federal Territory Perhilitan director Muhamad Bokhari Fadzin confirmed that the cub is in good health and will remain quarantined as the case is still being investigated and the cub is still too young.   

Wednesday, 12 June: Zarith faces two charges under Section 69 (1), which carries a maximum fine of RM200,000 or imprisonment up to 10 years or both if convicted, and Section 86 (1C) of the Wildlife Protection Act, which carries a fine between RM5,000 to RM50,000 or jail time of up to one year or both if convicted. She pleaded not guilty to both charges and paid the RM10,000 bail.

Who is the singer?

Zarith Sofia Mohd Yasin, also known as Cik Pia, is a rock singer who first came into public attention via the reality competition, Rockanova, in 2017 where she made it to the finals and secured the second runner-up title.  

Why is this bad?

As of 2018, Perhilitan estimates that there are only around 300 to 500 sun bears living in Malaysia. Sun bears are protected under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 and an individual can be charge if he or she is found to possess them illegally under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.

all you need to know about the “sun bear trapped in a condo” incidentImage via The Star

According to Bornean Sun Bear Con­servation Centre founder Dr Wong Siew Te, young sun bear cubs need a special “carnivore formula” in the absence of their mothers as they belong in the wild where they will seek out wild fruits, honey or worms and beetles to feast on. They also grow in size rather quickly and would pose a threat in an unnatural environment.

all you need to know about the “sun bear trapped in a condo” incidentImage via The Star

Furthermore, sun bears are often targeted by poachers for their valuable body parts which can fetch up to thousands of ringgit in the illegal wildlife trade market, which is why Perhilitan only grants permits to zoos and places with proper facilities to keep the sun bears.

Now you’re all caught up on this story! 
We’re glad the cub is healthy and finally in good hands.