Many of the sun bears found in zoos around the world have been rescued from rough lives in the illegal wildlife trade. That's why a recent birth of a baby sun bear to rescued parents is an unusual piece of good news for the species.
Poachers target these bears for their body parts, which are used to make traditional medicines with no scientifically proven value. Bears who aren’t butchered are sold to exotic pet traders or bile farms, which extract bile from the bears’ gallbladders for use in traditional medicine.
Often, when these bears are rescued, they’re too traumatized to engage in typical behaviors such as reproduction, says Mike Jordan, collections director at England’s Chester Zoo. “Lots of animals never