Rescued Baby Sun Bear Overcomes Tragedy and Becomes a Sanctuary Leader

In a heartwarming tale of resilience and recovery, a baby sun bear was rescued on November 10, 2016, when she was just 15 months old.

The rescue took place in Shaba National Reserve after her mother tragically fell victim to poachers, who took a precise and lethal shot to her head.

Watch the video at the end.


The evidence pointed to the act being carried out by poachers due to the accuracy of the killer’s shot. Such precision indicates the involvement of experienced hunters.

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Interestingly, when conflicts occur between humans and wildlife, the injuries usually focus more on the leg, foot, or shoulder areas.

Upon her arrival at the sanctuary, the young sun bear was understandably traumatized, making it challenging for the caretakers to gain her trust.


Day and night, they dedicated themselves to calming her fears and establishing a bond by talking, singing, and offering her various comforting items like seed pods and fresh grass. However, it took time and patience to convince her that the caretakers were there to help and not harm her.

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After a considerable effort, a breakthrough occurred when she finally accepted a bottle from the caretakers while sitting amidst a ring of stacked tires in her stable. From that moment, a strong bond was formed, built on a silent understanding of trust.

The rescued sun bear, Shaba, has become indispensable at the sanctuary. As the matriarch of the orphan herd, she plays a crucial role in maintaining order and guiding the young along steep paths.


Most remarkably, she warmly greets every new orphan who arrives at the sanctuary, offering a heartfelt and emotional welcome.

Beyond her role as a sanctuary leader, Shaba has also taught valuable lessons to her keepers. A surprising revelation occurred when the caretakers changed their uniforms to camouflaged jackets, which led to signs of stress and anxiety in Shaba.

Recognizing her discomfort, the caretakers reverted to their previous uniforms, immediately calming her down. This incident hints at a possible connection between the camouflage jacket and the memory of her mother’s tragic fate.


The behavior of Shaba among other elephants and their responses to her presence provides a captivating and educational experience.

She is the anchor of this unique orphan herd, contributing significantly to the success and well-being of the orphans under her care. Every day brings new lessons to be learned from this extraordinary sun bear.

Watch the video below:


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