The health of the city’s Asian black bear Bobo who has been living in Flora Garden for over three decades is deteriorating, a statement from the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) said Monday, pointing out that the popular ursine is suffering from “old age illnesses”.
The statement said that Bobo was not eating and not moving well, and IACM staff were closely monitoring the city’s beloved bear so that he’s receiving the proper care he needs.
“The average lifespan of Asian black bears is only 30 years, so Bobo can be called a granddaddy,” the statement said, pointing out that the bear has been suffering from “old age illnesses” such as joint disease and cataracts in recent years, his movements are slowing down and he is spending more time resting in his den.
According to Wikipedia, the average lifespan in the wild is 25 years, while the oldest Asian black bear in captivity died at the age of 44.
“The deteriorating condition of his joints is getting worse, causing him to experience hind leg weakness and limping,” the statement said. However, the statement pointed out that veterinarians have already given Bobo (which means “darling” in Cantonese) prescription medicine and vitamin supplements, adding that they will continue to monitor his condition.
In addition, the statement noted that Bobo has a “drastic” loss of appetite and that his health condition has significantly worsened, and that he is spending most of his time in his den lying on the floor.
The statement did not say when Bobo’s loss of appetite began.
“He cannot eat by himself, vets are feeding him by hand so that he can eat albeit a small amount of food, which is not even 10 percent of his normal daily intake,” the statement added, stressing that IACM staff were giving Bobo the best care they could as they continued to closely monitor his health.
Bobo was a cub when he was rescued from a tiny cage displayed outside a gourmet restaurant in Rua da Felicidade in the mid-1980s. According to reports at that time, Bobo was destined for the cooking pot. The restaurant owner is said to have smuggled the bear from the mainland to Macau. The authorities took action after complaints by residents who had taken pity on the baby bear whose cage was so small that he couldn’t even stand up.
The international conservation status of the Asian black bear, also known as the moon bear, is “vulnerable.”
The Asiatic black bear is listed as a protected animal in mainland China’s National Protection Wildlife Law, which stipulates that anyone hunting or catching bears without permits will be subject to severe punishment.
Earlier this year, the government said it was planning to move Bobo from Flora Garden to a new enclosure in Coloane. At that time, the public expressed concern that Bobo’s planned relocation would be inappropriate considering his advanced age.