Zoo offers the public an inside look at the endangered sun bears rescued from the illegal wildlife trade

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Cambodian sun bears Jamran and Bopha didn’t have a good start in life – but their fortunes turned after a conservation organization rescued them and transferred them to the Perth Zoo in South Perth, Australia.

The zoo recently gave animal lovers a behind-the-scenes look on Facebook of the two bears’ health checks.

Although the bears have been with the Perth Zoo for 15 years, the zoo noted that “regular medical checkups” have helped them ensure that Jamran and Bopha are in “top form”, after the years the two bears spent as “victims of the illegal wildlife trade”.

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The vulnerable bears, each poached as cubs, lived in unsuitable conditions before arriving at the zoo in January 2007.

Jamran was found tied up in a Cambodian restaurant, where he was being held as a menu item. The incarceration resulted in long-term damage to Jamran’s legs.

Bopha, on the other hand, was held as an “illegal” family pet

Vets at the Perth Zoo in Australia perform a health check while the sun bears are under anesthesia.

Vets at the Perth Zoo in Australia perform a health check while the sun bears are under anesthesia.
(The Perth Zoo)

At the zoo’s animal hospital, medical experts monitor Jamran and Bopha’s body condition, dental health and joint mobility.

“The bears have had a rough start and our keepers invest a lot of time developing relationships with them to make sure they are comfortable,” said Kaylee Martin, the the Perth zoo‘s senior media and communications coordinator, Fox News told Digital.

Sun bears are native to tropical forests in Southeast Asia, and there are two subspecies — the Malayan sun bear and the Bornean sun bear — that vary in size.

Activities for the bears include “lots of hand feeding and fortification training,” Martin said.

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Free the Bears, an Australian conservation and animal welfare organization, is the group that rescued Jamran and Bopha. The organization works with local communities and governments in Asia to save sun bears.

The two animals were transferred to the Perth Zoo at the age of six (Jamran) and four (Bopha) and made their first public appearance in February 2007.

Fast-forward to 2022 – and the bears receive regularly health checksspecial diets and fortification activities.

This month’s checkup found that Jamran and Bopha were healthy and just needed a “good dental shell and polishes to get rid of some tartar” on their teeth.

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“X-rays and mobility checks are particularly important for Jamran as he has suffered a number of long-term injuries to his legs from being tied up for his rescue,” said Rebecca Vaughan-Higgins, senior vet at the Perth Zoo Vet Hospital, in a press release.

“We like to keep a close eye on his paws to make sure he doesn’t have any pain or mobility issues that need treatment,” she continued.

The Perth Zoo added that Jamran and Bopha “look healthy for their age”.

Sun bears can usually live up to 25 years in the wildaccording to National Geographic.

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The oldest sun bear in the world ever recorded was Tsuyoshi, a male bear that lived for up to 32 years at the Tokuyama Zoo in Yamaguchi, Japan.

Sun bears are native to tropical forests in South East Asia and there are two subspecies – the Malayan sun bear and the Bornean sun bear – which vary in size.

Sun bears Jamron and Bopha have been working at the Perth Zoo for 15 years.  Free the Bears, an Australian conservation and animal welfare organization, rescued the animals before January 2007.

Sun bears Jamron and Bopha have been working at the Perth Zoo for 15 years. Free the Bears, an Australian conservation and animal welfare organization, rescued the animals before January 2007.
(The Perth Zoo)

Usually they have black fur with brown patterns and curved claws; they can grow between four and five feet in length; and they weigh between 60 and 150 pounds.

Exact population numbers aren’t certain, but sun bears are considered a vulnerable species, according to the World Wildlife Fund, an international nonprofit conservation organization.

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Poaching, dwindling resources and habitat loss are considered threats to sun bears.

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