Sun bear
Sun bear Pixabay

A sun bear was killed in Terengganu, Malaysia, when a man crashed his motorcycle into it while it was trying to cross the road. The motorcyclist escaped with minor injuries.

The incident happened at the Km347.5 of the East Coast Expressway 2 (LPT2) near Kuala Dungun interchange on Sunday, December 24 around 7 pm, reports The Malay Mail. The bear weighed about 100 kg and was killed upon impact, after which its carcass was taken to the State Wildlife Department.

The man, who was riding on a Yamaha 125z, was taken to Sungun Hospital for treatment. Motorcyclists have been warned to look out for wild animals, especially after dark, as they often roam in the Kuala Dungun interchange area.

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This is not the only animal slaughter reported in Malaysia on Christmas Eve. Two sun bears were killed, along with a tapir. Not only that, the acts of cruelty went viral on social media. Although one sun bear was killed in an accident, the other was mercilessly butchered and sold in a market.

A villager in Kuching spotted the carcass of an adult male bear chopped into 15 pieces and awaiting to be weighed and sold. The seller had decapitated the animal and severed its forearms while keeping the paws intact, reports Asia One. The price of this invaluable animal was fixed at RM20 per kilo while the head cost RM35.

Wong Siew Te, founder of Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) informed The Star that a wild boar and sambar deer were also being sold in the same market, offering a clear picture of rampant poaching in Malaysia.

"For us, the festive seasons mean happiness and fun with family but for the many unfortunate wildlife, it means the end of their life when the demand for exotic meat soars," he said.

The IUCN Red List states that sun bears are of the "Vulnerable" category, which has faced a rapid decline in numbers in the recent times. They are also a protected species under the Sarawak Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1998. In Malaysia, hunting, killing or selling these animals can fetch a fine of RM10,000 or a year of jail term. In spite of these measures, the innocent animals are being butchered for meat, adding to the adverse effects of rapid deforestation and climate change.

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Tapir
Tapir Pixabay

In another such incident, a tapir was killed on December 24 when a Proton Saga car hit it at KM12 at Jalan Gua Musang-Kuala Krai. In a horrific display of cruelty, people who found the carcass skinned the animal, cut off its snout and mutilated the body. The tapir is also "Endangered", according to IUCN.

The photos of this cruelty have gone viral on social media and netizens have expressed their shock and horror at the sight. It remains to be seen whether these emotions translate into actions so that something is done to protect these species in Malaysia.

Singapore has also recorded cruelty towards animals as they often come into close proximity with the human world. In October, a huge python was spotted at Bukit Batok, which was handled roughly before being put into a sack and taken away. Other creatures such as wild boars, crocodiles, otters etc are periodically spotted in Singapore.

There is a need to have proper protection laws for these animals and make sure they are implemented. We have already encroached upon their habitats on a large scale; it is high time we stop sacrificing their innocent lives for pleasure or delicacy.