A black bear in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia has been trapped in a pet shop cage for the last five years. It is overheated, malnourished, and badly requires psychological attention.
Activists claim the bear bites and smacks himself and visitors, including school children, regularly pelt him with food. Emma Johnson, a British nanny, brings daily treats of honey and grapes, according to Arab News, since management only provides bread and water.
Imported into Saudi Arabia five years ago in contravention of CITES regulations, the bear’s owner never came to collect according to Fayfa’s management. Not for sale, the animal is merely entertainment for visitors.
Overheated and without water
“We are working on the paperwork because many people complained about it and we are trying to send it back to its home country,” Manager Mohammed Wahbi told Arab News. “We tried taking care of the bear but it is a wild animal that breaks everything that we install for him. We offer him milk, bread and water every day.”
Contrary to this claim, reporters found the bear overheated, without water, and with nothing but pieces of bread to eat. It is difficult to say what kind of black bear it is. Some reports claim it is a Sun Bear while others suggest it is a Moon Bear, but images of the anxious and emaciated creature are very difficult to decipher.
In either event, the bear is indigenous to tropical climates in Southeast Asia and Northern India, rather than Saudi’s unforgiving desert, and its normal diet is said to consist of fruit and insects.
The Saudi Wildlife Authority claims it has not received any complaints about the pet shop, otherwise they would have investigated the matter to ensure the animals are kept in a healthy environment.
Arab News video footage of the bear is available here: http://www.arabnews.com/caged-bear-riles-animal-rights-group
Petition to save the bear
Saudi animal rights activist Abu Huraira has launched a petition to HRH Prince Bandar, Saudi Wildlife Commission and Fayfa, Saudi Arabia to release the bear into the care of Monkey World Rescue Center in the UK.
“Your Highness Prince Bandar bin Saud Al Saud,” the letter begins. “Saudi Arabia has made advances in all directions, one of them is signing the international CITES agreement to protect endangered animals and prohibit their trade. The international image of Saudi Arabia as a humanitarian country has escalated, and Islamic values of animal welfare are being promoted.”
The letter goes on to say that because of Prince Al Saud’s progress in protecting wild animals, he should be aware of a black bear that was imported illegally and relies on the kindness of strangers for its survival.
” In fact, this is not an animal that is meant to be a house pet, and it can never become a personal pet – it is an exotic [creature] that should be in a zoo and preserved.”
Please sign the petition and pass it on.