Malaysian social media was abuzz over the weekend after footage emerged of a “strange” creature crawling through the ʀᴜɪɴᴇᴅ forests of a palm oil plantation, leading to speculation that it was alien in origin.
Experts, however, say this isn’t an exciting otherworldly discovery – but rather a sᴀᴅ ᴛᴇsᴛᴀᴍᴇɴᴛ to how life is ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴇᴅ.
Seeing A ᴘᴇᴄᴜʟɪᴀʀ Creature ꜰʀᴇᴀᴋᴇᴅ Out Palm Oil Plantation Workers In Malaysia
It was a ʜᴀɪʀʟᴇss creature that resembled an alien, with huge ᴄʟᴀᴡs and crawled like Gollum in the ʟᴏʀᴅ of the Rings.
The ꜰʀɪɢʜᴛᴇɴᴇᴅ workers ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋᴇᴅ him and managed to sᴄᴀʀᴇ ᴏꜰꜰ the creature. The creature disappeared into the dense jungle.
The workers thought they would see the ʙᴇᴀsᴛ again when it returned to the plantation in February. This time, they ᴄᴀᴘᴛᴜʀᴇᴅ it and sent it to a local wildlife center.
Some have dubbed the mysterious creature a “Malaysian ᴄʜᴜᴘᴀᴄᴀʙʀᴀ,” but Anthony Sebastian of the Malaysian Nature Society Kuching says the animal is a familiar ᴛʜʀᴇᴀᴛᴇɴᴇᴅ species.
“It is a sun bear,” Sebastian told the Malaysian Star. “What ᴄᴏɴꜰᴜsᴇs people is the ʟᴀᴄᴋ ᴏꜰ ꜰᴜʀ. It is not some strange alien that has ꜰᴀʟʟᴇɴ from the sky.”
ᴘᴏᴏʀ Sun Bear!
State wildlife authorities from Sarawak Forestry Corporation confirmed to the Borneo Post that the animal is a sun bear, adding that he may have been ᴅʀɪᴠᴇɴ to the plantation due to ꜰʟᴏᴏᴅɪɴɢ nearby.
Conservationists from the conservation group Naturetalksback ᴄᴏɴᴅᴇᴍɴᴇᴅ the ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋ on the bear, which had likely “ʟᴏsᴛ its ꜰᴜʀ either from ᴅɪsᴇᴀsᴇ or because it was ᴀʙᴜsᴇᴅ/sʜᴀᴠᴇᴅ.”
“A local ᴇɴᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀᴇᴅ bear gets the ʟɪᴠɪɴɢ daylights ʙᴇᴀᴛᴇɴ ᴏᴜᴛ of it, is filmed, and paraded on the interwebs as a ‘ꜰʀᴇᴀᴋ of nature’ or a ‘ᴍᴏɴsᴛᴇʀ,'” the group writes on Facebook. “This is not right.”
This sun bear is being ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴇᴅ at the wildlife center and is doing exceptionally well. Over time, the staff is hopeful that they will be able to release it back to nature.
Sun Bears Are A ᴊᴇᴏᴘᴀʀᴅɪᴢᴇᴅ Species In Malaysia
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), this bear breed has decreased by 30% over the past three decades because its ideal habitat has been ᴄʟᴇᴀʀᴇᴅ for palm oil plantations.
The local population often ᴋɪʟʟs them because some ʙᴏᴅʏ parts are used in traditional ᴍᴇᴅɪᴄᴀʟ ᴘʀᴀᴄᴛɪᴄᴇs.
The ᴛʀᴀɢɪᴄ truth behind the “alien-like creature” caught on film is that it is just one of many unique and mysterious creatures ᴛʜʀᴇᴀᴛᴇɴᴇᴅ by human activity.
As we continue to explore nature, we must do so responsibly, taking steps to protect these fragile ecosystems and the creatures that call them home.