Bears About The House: Q&A with Giles Clark
First episode: Wednesday 15 July 8.00pm-9.00pm BBC TWO
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Conservationist Giles Clark is embarking on his biggest mission to date: taking on the illegal wildlife trade and helping to build a pioneering new bear sanctuary in Laos, Southeast Asia.
How did this series come about?
I hadn't been in a position to take up the offer until last year, but with the expansion of operations in Laos I took up the role of technical advisor for a 12-month period. I discussed filming my time at the sanctuary with the Natural History Unit, and what that journey would involve - for both myself and the bears.
What was your role at the sanctuary?
Why did you decide to tun your attention to bears in south east Asia?
What challenges did you face hand rearing vulnerable sun and moon bear cubs?
As they gain strength and confidence the challenge is then providing them with stimulation and opportunities to allow the development and honing of their skills to become a bear. As they grow in the wild, sun and moon bears will eat hundreds of different type of food, which presents unique challenges. This means bears have complex brains and are very intelligent.
Can you tell us a bit more about the bears that are rescued and are looked after at the Sanctuary?
The cubs are then traded and kept as exotic pets, nearly always in very poor conditions. We've rescued numerous bears from these circumstances who have been kept in cages that are just a few square metres, without any stimulation or a good diet. Other bears have been rescued from the 'bear bile' trade, where the animals are kept in barbaric conditions and the bile from their gall bladder is harvested for use in traditional Chinese medicines.
Your dedication and commitment to wildlife and its protection is second to none. How does it feel like when something as horrible as the theft of bear cubs Jane and David, who we meet in the documentary, happens?
We're confident that the increased security measures at the sanctuary will prevent another situation like this in the future, but the incident highlights the how ruthless these individuals are, and the lengths that organised criminal networks will go to.
We'll continue to work with partners - including the Laos government - in the fight to protect and rescue bears. Since the loss of David and Jane we've rescued nearly a further 20 bears in Laos, half of which are cubs.
What do you hope viewers will take away from this programme?
A last thought on moon and sun bears in the wild and their future……
Source BBC TWO
July 7, 2020 9:38am ET by BBC TWO