Come behind the scenes for a Sun Bear vet check!

Perth Zoo’s pair of bears Bopha and Jamran visited the Vet Hospital this month for a full healthcheck. 

Having been rescued from the illegal wildlife trade as cubs, our animal carers keep a close eye on the health and welfare of the two Sun Bears. 

The bears have individualised welfare plans made up of enrichment activities, specialised diets and of course, a scheduled visit to the Vet Hospital every couple of years. 

This month, the bears had their general check-up under anaesthetic where teams could get up-close to examine their body condition, dental health, joint mobility and draw pathology samples for testing. 

Senior Veterinarian, Rebecca Vaughan-Higgins, said: “These scheduled health exams are a great way for us to conduct a thorough check on the health of our animals. 

“Even if we have no concerns, it’s always valuable to have x-rays and bloodwork to use as a baseline for any potential health issues in the future. 

“The bears are looking healthy for their age, but both did need a good dental scale and polish to get rid of some calculus build-up. 

“Overall, the procedures for both Jamran and Bopha went well, with no health issues to report and they had a good recovery from the anaesthetic.”

Jamran and Bopha arrived at Perth Zoo in 2007 thanks to our international conservation partners Free the Bears. 

Both had been poached as cubs, with Bopha living as an illegal family pet while Jamran was found hog-tied at a restaurant and on the menu. 

“X-rays and mobility checks are particularly important for Jamran as he sustained some long-term injuries to his paws from being tied up before his rescue,” Rebecca said. 

“We like to keep a close eye on his paws to make sure he doesn’t have any pain or mobility issues that may need to be treated.”

Perth Zoo’s animal carers have worked hard over the past 15 years to develop strong bonds with our bears, while providing them with a lifestyle that closely mimics what they should have had in the wild. 

And while they had had a horrible start to life, Bopha and Jamran are among the lucky ones. 

Sadly, many wild bears continue to fall victim to illegal poaching and compete for dwindling resources due to habitat loss. 

Not only has our long-standing partnership with Free the Bears brought us Bopha and Jamran, but as a community we have also raised more than $460,000 to support insitu conservation work across the 15 years. 

These donations have helped enhance infrastructure and security capabilities at Free the Bears sanctuaries, as well as fund a wild bear census and a research project to better understand local community attitudes and the use of bear bile. 

While we can look back and relish in all the good work already achieved, there is always more to be done. 

Help us save more bears like Jamran and Bopha, donate to Perth Zoo today and become a courageous champion for wildlife.