What a Chinese family thought was an exceptionally large dog that wouldn’t stop growing turned out to be not a dog at all. The family, as it turns out, was raising an Asiatic black bear as a pet.
Su Yun, who lives in the Yunnan province in southern China, believed he had taken home a mastiff puppy who he called Little Black. But as Little Black continued to grow and eventually started walking on his hind legs, he realized he had been sold a bear.
“The more he grew, the more like a bear he looked,” says Yun, adding, “I am a little scared of bears.”
Despite the obvious mixup, Yun continued caring for Little Black. He would feed him two buckets of noodles and a box of fruit every day. He eventually grew to over 250 pounds.
However, Yun came across a leaflet stating it was illegal to keep a protected animal like an Asiatic black bear as a pet without a proper license. At that point, he called the Yunnan Wildlife Rescue Center.
Last week, Little Black was sedated and successfully transported to an animal sanctuary. Vets determined that the bear was in good health and had been treated well by Yun, and so authorities will not press charges against him, a fair outcome since his only crime was not recognizing that he had been sold a bear instead of a dog.
The Asiatic black bear, which is also called the moon bear, is classified as a vulnerable species, largely because deforestation by humans has taken away its habitat.
The species is technically considered an omnivore, although they subsist largely on vegetables and fruit. However, they can become predators of smaller animals.
At times, Asiatic black bears can be aggressive toward humans. But that was not the case with Little Black. In fact, Yun described him as being a sensitive animal who doesn’t like being separated from his owner.
Nevertheless, Little Black will now have a new life in an animal sanctuary, and considering the vulnerability of his species, that’s definitely a good thing.