This Wild Bear Was Found Trapped In The Forest – And She Was Desperately Trying To Signal For Help

The rescuers were walking through the Bornean forest when they saw the most peculiar thing. A sun bear was sitting on the floor close by but it was acting oddly. It looked like it was trying to get their attention, so they cautiously approached the predator.

As a result of deforestation, forests around the world are being plundered to create consumer products. Take the Asian island of Borneo, for example. It once boasted some amazing rain forests but they are tragically now in danger.

The reason for this is that large-scale operations are tearing down trees such as palm oil and rubber plants. The products created from the harvested flora end up in household goods across the world. But it’s the method of collecting these resources that’s the problem.

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In fact, a lot of these plants are rarely harvested by sustainable methods, hence the resulting deforestation crisis. Not only does this endanger the island’s plant life but there is another casualty to such destructive methods. The industry is also having a devastating effect on the local wildlife.

It’s one of the problems that animal rescue organizations are trying to tackle. Four Paws International (FPI) and its partner, the Jejak Pulang Foundation (JPF) are combating these issues across the world. Borneo is one of the battlegrounds where they’re needed the most.

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Borneo is the third largest island on the planet and has incredibly high rates of deforestation. Half of the island’s lowland forests have been eradicated and it has endangered the native fauna. Amongst the inhabitants at risk are the Bornean orangutan and the sun bear.

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According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN’s) catalog of threatened species, known as the red list, sun bears are a vulnerable animal. Alternatively known as honey bears for their love of honeycombs, they have a distinctive orange patch on their chest. Sadly, they’re now quite rare.

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So it’s not an everyday occurrence to see a sun bear in its native habitat. But that’s exactly what happened to members of the aforementioned group, the JPF. Their partners at FPI reported the encounter on Facebook on March 26, 2018.

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The sighting of a wild sun bear wasn’t what inspired the post, though, it was the bear’s unusual behavior. JPF members were patrolling the forest when they saw the sun bear’s strange antics. She was sitting near a tree stump and appeared to be waving.

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When the rescue team cautiously approached they instantly saw why she was calling them over. The bear had wandered into an area used by persons unknown as an illegal rubber plantation. Sadly for the bear, the criminals had expected such an intrusion and had prepared a nasty surprise.

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The illegal farmers had rigged the area with snares and the sun bear had stepped in to one of them. As a result, the mechanism trapped her paw, rendering her unable to move. It’s unknown how long she was stuck for but the agony she endured must have been horrendous.

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If she hadn’t waved for help, the bear – who rescuers named Belia – would have died a painful death. The rescue team subsequently got to work removing the snare and took her away from the trap-filled area. Then she was rushed to a JPF medical clinic to treat her wound.

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“Unfortunately, part of her paw could not be saved,” FPI wrote on its Facebook page that day. That meant that vets had had to amputate the damaged part of the limb. Vets tranquilized Belia, removed the paw and bandaged her up in preparation for her recovery.

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Belia’s story broke hearts across the internet and people feared for her future. “Will she be able to survive with a missing paw?” one person asked on FPI’s Facebook page. According to the rescue group, the answer to that lay in Belia’s age.

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Belia is young, so that should work to her advantage. FPI communications director, Claire LaFrance, explained the situation in more depth on the website The Dodo on April 25, 2018. “[Belia’s] age was estimated to be only two years old, so her future looked bright,” she said.

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As a result of her youth, Belia would adapt to her disability better than an older sun bear would. The best thing that her rescuers could offer her was a safe place to recuperate. With this in mind, they housed Belia in an outdoor enclosure while she recovered.

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Belia was strong and it didn’t take long for her to recover from her injuries. Within eight days, she was fighting fit and eager to leave her enclosure. After JPF’s medical staff gave her the all-clear, a rescue team returned the bear to her forest home.

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FPI wrote a Belia update on its Facebook page on April 17, 2018, describing her return to the wild. “After adapting to her handicap of losing one paw she could finally be released in the same spot where we first found her,” the post said. “What a moment!”

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In case you’re worried about Belia encountering more snares, FPI has countermeasures in place to prevent a similar accident. “There are camera traps throughout the forest where she was found,” FPI informed a concerned follower. “She will be tracked without having to interact with humans through these.”

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As deforestation becomes ever more severe and wildlife habitats shrink, human/animal conflict is becoming more common. If Belia’s plight moves you, please visit FPI’s website to see how you can help. As for Belia, she may be one paw down, but her future looks bright thanks to the Jejak Pulang Foundation and Four Paws International.

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