Chinese zoo denies its sun bears are folks in costume


A zoo in eastern China has denied tips that some of its bears have been individuals dressed in costume immediately after videos of a Malayan solar bear standing on its hind legs – and on the lookout uncannily human – went viral, fueling rumors and conspiracy theories on Chinese social media.

In a statement composed from the point of view of a solar bear named “Angela,” officials from a zoo in Hangzhou stated people “didn’t understand” the species.

“I’m Angela the solar bear – I bought a phone following get the job done yesterday from the head of the zoo inquiring if I was currently being lazy and skipped get the job done today and found a human to choose my location,” the assertion go through.

“Let me reiterate once again to every person that I am a solar bear – not a black bear, not a pet dog – a solar bear!”

In films shared on the well-known Chinese microblogging web site Weibo, a sunshine bear was noticed standing upright on a rock and on the lookout out of its enclosure.

Numerous Weibo consumers pointed out the animal’s upright posture, as perfectly as folds of unfastened fur on its driving – earning the bear glimpse fairly odd and fueling speculation that a human imposter may possibly be masquerading in its position.

It might audio like an implausible gambit. But zoos in China have courted public ridicule in the previous for seeking to pass off pets like canine as wild animals.

In 2013, a town zoo in the central Henan province angered website visitors by attempting to move off a Tibetan Mastiff pet dog as a lion. People who had approached the enclosure expressed shock when they heard the “lion” bark.

Site visitors at an additional Chinese zoo, in Sichuan province, had been stunned to find out a golden retriever sitting down in a cage labeled as an African lion enclosure.

Indigenous to the tropical forests of Southeast Asia, sunlight bears are the world’s smallest bear species. Adult bears stand at heights of up to 70 centimeters tall (28 inches) and weigh amongst 25 to 65 kilograms (55 to 143 lbs), authorities say.

They do not hibernate and are also characterised by amber colored crescent shaped fur patches on their chests and long tongues which assistance them extract honey from bee hives – earning them the title “beruang madu” (honey bear) in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Solar bears are detailed as susceptible by the Global Union for Conservation of Mother nature (IUCN) and are a secured species in indigenous international locations like Malaysia.

Their quantities in the wild are at threat by poachers and deforestation, declining by 35% about the past three decades, according to conservation teams like the Bornean Sunlight Bear Conservation Middle (BSBCC) in Sabah, Malaysia.

The heart cares for 43 rescued bears, every single with their very own mannerisms and one of a kind personality.

“Not adequate men and women know about solar bears – they are a very overlooked species,” BSBCC founder and wildlife biologist Wong Siew Te instructed CNN.

“Most bear species can stand on their hind legs but solar bears stand up high to achieve greater ground to investigate their surroundings so there is a goal to why they do that. Female solar bears even maintain their cubs with the two palms and walk on their feet, incredibly human like, so I guess which is why people today get mistaken.”

Wong reported that the bear’s unfastened, saggy skin also serves an critical function in the wild, by acting as armor from predators, protecting them from further bites and accidents.

“Sun bears are usually unwanted fat and spherical. When ailments are lousy and foodstuff is scarce, their pores and skin gets to be free,” Wong stated.

“Forests are vanishing and moms are usually killed by hunters who steal their cubs – this is a massive difficulty throughout Southeast Asia. Sun bears are also topic to the cruel bear bile trade,” Wong included.

“There needs to be more recognition and instruction about sunshine bears – they are a safeguarded and distinctive species and are in major hassle.”