When the news of Angela hit the spotlight, it seemed like a great opportunity to raise awareness of sun bears as a species and what is being done to try to help them in the wild.
For sun bears in the wild face threats that could drive them to extinction. They are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species. Threats facing sun bears are:
- Habitat loss as their forest home is destroyed - South East Asia is losing its rainforests rapidly because of logging - both legal and illegal - and forest fires and destruction for palm oil plantations and road building
- Hunting for bear body parts - bear bile and bear paws are believed to have medicinal properties. Many bears rescued by bear charities were captive for their bear bile, for instance
- A demand from the pet trade
- Conflict with people, espeically as forests are reduced and humans take over wildlife territory. There's less food for the bears, for instance.
The other problem is that many people don't know about the sun bear species so they are unaware that sun bears exist. Could Angela be the ambassador sun bears need to raise awareness that they exist, for a start, and to raise awareness of their plight and how people can help?