A video showing a woman tearfully handing over a bear cub to wildlife authorities has touched many hearts on social media – even if it’s generally accepted that this was the right thing to do.
The video was posted three days ago by the TikTok account @jagaalam8, racking up 11.9 million views as of this article’s publication.
The video shows the woman embracing and kissing the cub – a Sumatran sun bear AKA beruang madu (honey bear) – before letting it go to an officer, who led it into a plastic cage. Other people at her home also shed tears for the bear’s departure.
“They have cared for this cub for around two months. But we have to take it, so that it can be cared for in a place more fitting for it,” the video’s caption reads.
Speaking to Kompas, the uploader of the video, Jambi Forest Police officer Poltak M. Panjaitan, said the woman found the cub under a shed in her plantation in Merangi Regency, Jambi some two months ago.
Though she had bonded with the bear during her time caring for it, she realized that keeping a wild animal would pose danger not only to children in her village, but also to the cub.
“If she left it at home, no one would care for it [while she goes out to work at the plantation]. If she took it to the plantation, her pet dogs would attack it,” Poltak said.
Wildlife authorities thanked the woman for eventually contacting them to collect the cub, and said that they will look after it until it can be returned to its natural habitat.
Keeping protected wildlife, including a sun bear, is a crime punishable by up to five years in prison in Indonesia. However, the Jambi Forest Police has decided not to press charges against the woman, saying she had the good intention of notifying authorities about the sun bear for the sake of the animal.