After Whales And Tigers, Sun Bears Make Their Presence Felt In Terengganu

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KUALA TERENGGANU: There seems to be no end to the streak of wildlife sightings in Terengganu in the past week.

Just days after killer whales and tigers made sudden appearances in the state’s waters and in a village, three sun bears were seen roaming at a Felda settlement here.

The bears were spotted in Felda Belara over the past two weeks, forcing residents to seek help from the Terengganu Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan).

The department laid traps resulting in one of them being captured at 9.30pm last night.

Villager, Mustaffa Tahir, 76, was the first to discover the trapped bear.

He said he had noises behind his house the night before.

However, he was too afraid to venture out as the surroundings were too dark and hilly.

“The loud sounds of the cage trap rattling and snorts from the animal discouraged us from checking it out for fear that the animal could turn aggressive.

“So, very early the next day, my son and I went over and we saw a bear fast asleep in the trap,” he told reporters at his house.

Mustaffa said the bears had destroyed 19 stingless bee (kelulut) hives and six coconut trees belonging to him worth a total of RM12,000.

“The trap was laid the evening before. Perhilitan moved it from the back of my neighbours’ house to mine after it failed to trap the bears.

“Maybe the bee hives used as bait did the trick,” Mustaffa said.

Another resident, Noriah Abdullah, said she was worried as two sun bears were still on the loose in the area.

She said her family members had come across all three bears helping themselves to jackfruit at the back of their home about two weeks ago.

“I suspect they are part of a family as one was quite huge while the other two were smaller-sized,” she said.

State Perhilitan director Dr Abd Malek Mohd Yusof said the captured bear would be released into its natural habitat in Taman Negara as soon as it was certified healthy by the Veterinary Services Department.

He said more traps would be set soon to capture the remaining sun bears.

He advised residents to be vigilant, especially when they were in their smallholdings or deep in the jungle as sun bears could become aggressive if they felt threatened.

Last week a pair of killer whales appeared near the oil rigs off Terengganu’s coast, while two tigers were caught on camera roaming in Kampung Besul, Dungun. – Bernama