Kidnapped Bear Takes His First Steps Without Mom
He's one of the youngest bears ever rescued by Animals Asia - so young he's still learning to walk.
Murphy has been making himself at home at the charity's Vietnam sanctuary, but before he can fully explore his surroundings, this cub is first having to learn how to keep his footing.
Access to the 6-to-8-week-old cub is strictly limited by sanctuary quarantine protocols, but footage taken by one of his carers reveals Murphy tottering uneasily on his young feet.
Following his inquisitive instincts, Murphy goes on a mini adventure, clambering over enrichment objects and sniffing novelty items.
Animals Asia's Vietnam Bear and Vet Team Director, Annemarie Weegenaar said:
"Being less than two months old, Murphy is at an incredibly vulnerable age. It's a time when he should still be nursing from his mother and exploring his immediate surroundings under her protection.
We try to be as hands off as possible with cubs, but when they are as young as Murphy, they still need to be bottle fed and can become stressed when alone."
Rangers apprehended a poacher attempting to smuggle Murphy in a backpack - with his final intended destination likely to have been China's still-legal bear bile industry.
The smuggler admitted to killing Murphy's mother in order to traffic the cub and a criminal case is proceeding.
Animals Asia founder and CEO, Jill Robinson MBE said:
"What has been done to Murphy is nothing short of criminal and quite rightly the authorities are treating the matter as such.
Murphy was destined for a life sentence on a bear bile farm, and is incredibly fortunate to have escaped that ghastly fate. With no safe areas for rescued animals to be re-released in Vietnam, he can't be returned to the wild but we'll give him the next best thing - a safe and happy life stimulated by enrichment programs, large grassy outdoor enclosures and hopefully the companionship of other rescued sun bears.
Caring for Murphy will most likely be a lifetime commitment that could see us looking after him for another 30 years - but it's a commitment we could never shirk - the alternative is just too vile."