Bear necessities part one: Ti Map learns to eat healthily
02 April 2014
For 14 years recently rescued moon bear Ti Map has eaten little more than rice gruel and family leftovers.
Just like people, moon bears are only as healthy as their diets - which is why the bear team and vets at our Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre can’t wait to get Ti Map on the same nutritionally balanced diet enjoyed by all bears in the sanctuary.
Ti Map’s diet during his 1,700km road trip from Phan Thiet to Tam Dao was already being supplemented with the more natural and healthier produce that he can expect to enjoy in the future - some of which can be seen above and below here.
Dragon fruit, banana and acacia leaves, watermelon, pumpkin, cabbage, sugar cane, carrots, sweet potato, apples and bananas were all introduced to Ti Map on what became almost a gastro tour the length of Vietnam. According to the team, his favourites are the watermelon and cabbage.
Unsuitable diets can have serious repercussion in the long run. Ti Map’s teeth are reported to be in bad shape, most probably due to a combination of a nutrient deficient diet and bar biting during a lifetime in a cage.
From now on, Ti Map’s standard diet will consist of cabbage, carrot, apple, pear, sweet potato, tomato and dog biscuits. As Ti Map and the other bears’ appetites increase in summer and autumn, the portions will be increased while reduced winter eating patterns will be mirrored with smaller portions
Animals Asia Vietnam Bear and Vet Team Director Annemarie Weegenaar said:
“We would hope that Ti Map still has many years ahead of him so there is plenty of time for his diet to be corrected. He will enjoy a diet that will change with the seasons in portions reflecting seasonal appetites. Alongside this there will be enrichment treats. Yoghurt, jam and fermented tofu will be spread around his enclosures to encourage his foraging instincts and keep him happy, busy and stimulated day after day.”