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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

Our team in Indonesia relocates Berli the rescued sun bear

Berli being weighed while under anaestheticA sun bear that has spent the past two years of its life chained up in the home of an Indonesian government official has been moved to a specialist sanctuary in Kalaweit, thanks to IAR.

Our team in Indonesia has been assisting with the care of Berli the bear since he was handed over some weeks ago and moved into a cage at the local forestry department (BKSDA). He was subsequently brought to the IAR emergency rescue centre for orangutans in Ketapang and given a nutritious diet and vitamin supplements to build up his strength.

On 8 October Berli was sedated so that IAR's veterinarians could give him a full examination before moving him into a transport cage for his flight. It had been suspected since day one that Berli had problems with his bones and teeth after suffering a lack of calcium as a cub, and this was confirmed during examination. His ruptured canines do not sit properly in his gums and they will eventually need to be removed to prevent infection.

There was great excitement among the team at Berli's move to a centre specialising in sun bear rehabilitation. His food was packed up for the journey, including plenty of his favourite watermelon, and the team then set off for the airport. However his journey proved to be far from plainsailing: first of all the transport crate was too big to fit into the cargo hold of the plane, in spite of having been used previously to transport animals. This meant the team had to return to the centre and build a new one in double quick time.

Berli boarding the plane to KalaweitThe following morning a second attempt was made to send Berli off safely on his journey. However, this only finally took place after an almost farcical series of further delays and disappointments, with the poor creature ferried back and forth between the airport and the centre.

It wasn't until 3am that night that Argitoe, IAR's centre manager, sent text messages to the team to let them know that he and Berli had made it to the sun bear rehabilitation site in Kalaweit, and that Berli was active and well.

It was definitely a case of 'better late than never' for Berli who is expected to prosper in a place built specially for lost bears like him.