As Jamran and Bopha entered their exihibits their noses twitched, they recognised a familiar sweet smell. Honey treats had been hidden by their keepers, and it didn’t take our bears long to uncover the goods.
Like a scene out of Winnie the Pooh, Bopha squeezed her arm inside a log pulling out a big chunk of honeycomb.
Meanwhile, Jamran balanced his enrichment ball against the window allowing him to lick up the dripping liquid gold inside.
Seeing the bears enjoying their honey, it’s hard to imagine their sad past. Several years before they arrived at Perth Zoo in 2007, Jamran and Bopha were both rescued by our conservation partner, Free the Bears.
Both had been poached as cubs and victims of the illegal wildlife trade. Our female, Bopha, was originally kept illegally by a local family as a pet, whilst Jamran was found hog-tied to a pole outside of a restaurant, destined to be chopped up for 'bear paw soup'.
Today they live a much sweeter life, especially when they get to enjoy honeycomb enrichment.
The honeycomb was harvested from a gigantic beehive, buzzing with honey bees, that was recently removed from a tree on the Zoo grounds.
While our keepers are experts at caring for a range of wildlife, we enlisted the help of a professional bee removalist to ensure no people, or bees, were injured in the process. Afterall, it’s not just honey at stake, bees are responsible for pollinating at least one third of the food we eat.
That’s right, those tiny black and yellow insects you see buzzing around your garden are vital to our existence and luckily in Western Australia we have some of the healthiest bees. Unfortunately, several bee species are declining across the planet.
If ever you find any beehives on your own property, it’s important not to spray or kill the bees. There are professionals who can safely rehome them so they can keep on buzzing and pollinating.
Check out Jamran and Bopha enjoying their honeycomb in the video and gallery below.
Melissa Leo - Media and Communications Officer at Perth Zoo