The Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) is considering transferring ageing Asian black bear Bobo to Seac Pai Van Park in Coloane in order to allow him to enjoy his old age said IACM President Jose Fonseca Tavares.
According to The Macau Post Daily, IACM Administrative Committee member Leong Kun Fong said on Monday that the physical condition of Bobo (which means “darling” in Cantonese), who is over 30 years old, was deteriorating and the enclosure in Flora Garden was no longer suitable for him, adding that Seac Pai Van Park was the bureau’s primary choice for Bobo’s new home.
Tavares reaffirmed the bureau’s plan to reporters on the sidelines of a meeting with the Food and Economic Safety Authority (ASAE) of Portugal at the IACM headquarters, saying that the environment in Seac Pai Van Park would be better for Bobo to enjoy his old age.
The government already considered transferring Bobo to Seac Pai Van Park last year. An IACM senior staff member told reporters in February that due to his advanced age, it would be difficult for Bobo to adapt to a new environment in Seac Pai Van Park in Coloane.
Tavares said IACM officials would not anaesthetise Bobo when transferring him to his new home, but that the officials would tempt Bobo into a cage by putting food inside.
Bobo, then still a cub, was seized by the authorities from a gourmet restaurant serving game in Rua da Felicidade, where he was destined for the cooking pot, after he had been smuggled into Macau from the mainland, in the mid-1980s. The eatery had put Bobo into a tiny cage outside its premises to attract customers keen to try bear meat – considered a delicacy by some.
The Asian black bear is classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), mostly because of deforestation and hunting for its body parts used in traditional medicine.
Its average lifespan in the wild is 25 years, while the oldest Asian black bear in captivity died at the age of 44, according to The Great Bear Almanac cited by Wikipedia.
A vulnerable species is likely to become endangered unless the circumstances threatening its survival and reproduction improve, according to the IUCN.
After Bobo had been rescued from ending up on the dinner plate, the government later set up his purpose-built enclosure in Flora Garden and even brought in a “girlfriend” from the mainland to keep him company. However, the female Asian black bear died a few years ago. The pairing failed to produce offspring.
Several readers have told The Macau Post Daily they worry that moving Bobo to a new home could ultimately kill him.