A singer in Malaysia has been arrested after mistakenly keeping a bear in her flat under the assumption it was a stray dog.
27-year-old Malaysian singer and former reality star Zarith Sofia was found to have the unusual house guest after it was spotted pushing through one of the windows in her apartment block.
Onlookers were alerted to the bear after it let out a huge roar.
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There’s a few things in life which people often mix up. The words ‘genuinely’ and ‘generally’, for example, or animals like llamas and alpacas. Those mistakes are somewhat understandable as the two things look or sound alike.
Two animals I can’t ever imagine mixing up are dogs and bears. Admittedly I’ve never come face to face with a bear, but I like to think I could spot one when I saw it. Even if I couldn’t, I’m sure things would become clear after it let out a roar or two.
That apparently wasn’t the case with Zarith, who claimed she found the animal by the side of the road around a fortnight ago and assumed it was a dog.
In fact her new pet was a rare sun bear cub, an animal The Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies as ‘vulnerable’. It is also listed as an endangered species and protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act of 2010 in Malaysia.
The cub was just six months old and was in poor health when Zarith discovered it and so the singer decided to take it under her wing and brought it to her flat in the western Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.
Zarith eventually did realise her new pet, named Bruno, wasn’t a dog at all and planned to give it to the Zoo Negara, however she had reservations.
The former reality TV star explained:
I was worried about sending Bruno to the zoo [while unwell] because the animals there look skinny.
Authorities were alerted to the situation after the bear appeared at the apartment window and the singer was arrested. She was detained by members of Malaysia’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks for keeping a protected animal, according to local media.
The young woman claimed she ‘only wanted to save the bear’ and had ‘no intention of exploiting it’. It’s unclear what happened to the cub but hopefully it’s now being looked after properly in a much more bear-friendly environment.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.