In late January, oil palm plantation workers from the village of Sibu in Borneo spotted what they called a “strange” creature. According to one of the workers, here’s how they reacted.
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.
They did not report the incident to authorities but instead took a video and posted it on the Internet.
Have you ever thought about how you would react in a similar situation? What’s the first thing you would do if you encountered a strange being or creature ? What if it was an alien? A Bigfoot? A chupacabra? Something cute? Something with a strange appearance?
How would you react if you were alone? Do you think you would act differently if you with a few people? How about a crowd?
What would you do if you were carrying a stick? A rake? How about a gun? How long would you take to decide if the creature was friendly or harmful before you responded to it?
If the being appeared hurt, would you help it? What if the being was hurt because of something you did?
Would you report your encounter to authorities? Would it depend on whether you had a video or other witnesses?
After being notified of the video on the Internet, the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), which works for the Borneo government, dispatched a Swift Wildlife Action Team (SWAT) to investigate. After hunting for two months, they finally rescued the creature, which they identified as an endangered sun bear that had lost its fur and its strength due to an unknown cause. Speculation ran from parasites to pesticide poisoning to torture by humans. A spokesperson for the SFC gave an update:
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.
This time it was a sick bear that was beaten unconscious, then chased away. Next time it could be some other being. What will you do if the first human it encounters is you? How will you represent humanity? Will you treat it with respect?