Malaysian Singer Arrested For Keeping Bear in Apartment Because She ‘Thought it Was a Dog’


By Mandy Froelich / Truth Theory

There are many objects that are easily mistaken. For instance, a stick can be confused with a snake. So can a hare with a rabbit. However, two animals that are not as easily mistaken are a bear and a a dog. Yet, Malaysian singer Zarith Sofia claims this occurred when she plucked a rare sun bear cub off of the streets, thinking it was a stray dog.

According to Unilad, the former reality star found the six-month-old bear cub by the side of the road around a fortnight ago. He appeared to be in poor health, so she welcomed the furry critter into her flat in the western Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur. 

This turned out to be a big mistake. Not only is the animal listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as “vulnerable,” but the cub (considered an “endangered species”) is protected under the Wildlife Conservation fAct of 2010 in Malaysia. It’s also worth mentioning that she put herself in danger by inviting in a potentially dangerous flatmate.

The singer did eventually realize her mistake. According to reports, she planned on giving the cub, which she named Bruno, to the Zoo Negara. She was concerned for the cub’s treatment, however. “I was worried about sending Bruno to the zoo [while unwell] because the animals there look skinny,” explained the former reality TV star.

She didn’t get the chance to drop him off. One day, Bruno poked his head out of an apartment window and alerted local authorities. Shortly after, Sofia was arrested. She was detained by members of Malaysia’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks for keeping a protected animal, according to local media.

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Though her motives remain unclear, the young woman claims she simply “wanted to save the bear.” Furthermore, she had “no intention of exploiting it.” It is unclear what happened to the cub.

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