Conservation and life in Borneo

A polite response

You may have read a very strange email Wong recently received concerning a request to find out how someone could get themselves a pet sun bear. Wong’s response is below, please read it.

Hi ****,

Sorry for the late reply. Your email came to at a busy time.

Thank you for checking with me about the idea of getting a sun bear as pet. For your information, this is really a BAD idea trying to keep a sun bear as pet. It is wrong morally, socially, and legally. Sun bear is protected by law in every country within their range. Keeping or owning a sun bear without proper permit from the authority is illegal. On top of that, sun bear is a wildlife that is impossible to tame. At the end, the bear end up being locked up in metal cage performing all kind of crazy stereotypic behavior. This is a really sad, stressful, and pain for the bear, and the behavior of keeping a sun bear as pet is very sick and has to be condemn seriously. Please read my blog of the “captive sun bear series I, II, III” at

In my career I have come across numerous pet sun bears in SE Asia. I consider myself very lucky as one of very few people in the world who is able to observe how sun bear live in the wild. However, I also am one of the few in the world who got to see so many “pet” sun bears, kept by so call “pet lovers”, that live in the condition that no word can describe how badly they were. The cause of this sick behavior, literary torture the bears at every second, was originated from the ill “animal loving” behavior, similar to what you plan to do. So if you ask me if it is a good idea to keep a sun bear as pet, my answer to you is “ABSOLUTELY NOT!”

As you can see our website, what we are trying to do at Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre is to rescue pet-caged sun bears from irresponsible and criminal bear owners. We have spent tremendous amount of efforts and resources to improve the living quality of these ex-pet bears and to help them. We are trying hard to fix the mess that these irresponsible, criminal, cool blooded bear owners have created. So if you are smart enough to see what we are trying to do, the answer is again an absolutely NOT A GOOD idea to keep sun bear as pet, and a sun bear CANNOT become a person’s pet, and it CANNOT be done! Period!

P/S: My gender is male, so please is Mr. Wong.

Siew Te Wong, M.Sc.

I found it very frustrating that there were people in the world today who would desire such a pet. Anyone who loves these animals and understands what incredible suffering the pet trade causes would know that the best place for wildlife is in the wild. There is clearly much work yet to do.


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