Several months ago a video emerged from the Indonesian jungle showing a strange hairless animal with an odd gait and movement.
The Bornean plantation workers, who first located and filmed the creature, claimed they had never seen anything like it, with one worker, Herman Tutu, stating:
"Initially, we thought it was a dog or monkey. When we got nearer to check, we were shocked because none of us had ever seen such a creature. I poked it using the branch to force it back into the forest when it charged at us. The animal then bit the branch and we could only watch as it ripped the tree branch away."
Another witness at the scene claimed the workers then decided to beat the animal until it lost consciousness:
"We were shocked. None of us has ever seen such thing. One of us then hit the animal until it appeared to have passed out. When it regained consciousness, we forced it to go back into the jungle."
You can watch the original video below:
Of course, as you can imagine, it didn't take long for talk of an 'alien' or previously undiscovered creature to spread across the internet. Faced with this, the Sarawak Forestry Corporation dispatched a team to try and locate the animal.
As it turns out, the plantation workers beat them to it, as they located the animal last week in the same area. This time, instead of beating it senseless, they captured the beast and took it to the plantation office, from where the authorities were contacted.
So What Actually Is It?
The creature was taken to the Matang Wildlife Center in Kuching where it was verified as a hairless and extremely sick sun bear - an animal native to the jungles of Borneo.
Nickson Robi, from the Sarawak Forestry Corporation, explained:
"The bear is in a good and safe place. She has eaten the food and drank the water we gave. But she still is hairless and sick, and we need to find out what the sickness is."
Sun bears are protected as a vulnerable species according to the IUCN Red List, with deforestation destroying their habitat and bringing them into conflict with locals. Although it is illegal to kill a sun bear, the law is poorly enforced with many being killed for their gall bladders - which are used in traditional Chinese medicine.
A perfectly healthy sun bear looks completely different from the one shown in the video. They are usually covered in black fur and feature a golden-brown horseshoe shape on their chest. The bears are known for their long claws and powerful jaws, although these are rarely used to tackle large prey. Instead, sun bears are omnivores, whose diet mostly consists of insects, grubs and other invertebrates. They are particularly known as great lovers of honey.
Currently, the discovered sun bear is continuing to be treated, while its carers hope it will soon be released into the wild once again.