Bears Don’t Belong Behind Bars
BEARS DON’T BELONG BEHIND BARS is a zine that I wrote and illustrated in dedication to the sun and moon bears of South East Asia. As the product of the horrible bear bile industry and poaching, many sun and moon bears spend most of their lives in tiny cages, helpless and distressed. While some bears are rescued by animal welfare organisations such as Free The Bears and Sun Bear Outreach, the entire rescue and rehabilitation process is one that is often overlooked. What comes after saving a bear from abuse?
While it may not seem like such a big deal, the past trauma these bears have gone through heavily impacts the way they behave, making it difficult for them to “become a bear again” and be released into the wild. Hence, this zine acts as a letter of hope and respect for the sun and moon bears who have gone through so much and must get through even more just to be able to live comfortably in their natural habitat and be a bear once again.
This project was a final assignment in my Animal: Ethics and Representation class, where we were able to research and explore about an animal welfare topic of our choice. I chose to write and illustrate about sun and moon bears because I had previously volunteered at Free The Bears Cambodia in 2019. Having gone through the process of nurturing these bears to help rehabilitate them myself, I found that it was important to share this issue and reflect on my experiences with these bears.