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17 Jan 2002


One thing we have been less than happy with since arriving here is seeing the bear chained up in a cage every day. Apparently she was a present from the Army, so we know there's no way of persuading the boss to turn her free. Every day we do a little walk around the factory after meals, stopping off at the cage to make a fuss of her. She comes up to the bars and rubs her back against them, willing us to scratch for her. Then she slowly sinks to the floor and rolls around, baring her teeth in ecstasy. Sometimes we watch her tearing a coconut apart with her claws and teeth and are amazed at her strength. I guess she weighs about 50 Kg now. Well today was a happy day for her and for us: she was moved into a new pen right outside our room. It's a big concrete affair with a raised sleeping platform, a ramp and a small pool. We missed seeing her transferred to it because we were out teaching, but when we got back she was running around splashing in the pool like a mad thing. I still hate to see animals in cages, but at least it's bearable (sorry!) now...