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Bowie and Ka Wow – Through the Eyes of Dr. John

In January 2016 a little sun bear cub arrived at WFFT and changed my life.
Just a few weeks old Bowie as we called her had been sold as a pet and her mother killed for bushmeat and traditional medicine. Despite the horrors she had endured in her short life Bowie’s playfulness and trusting nature melted my heart. I had retired from veterinary practice two years earlier as I had lost my vocation. I have returned frequently to WFFT to care for Bowie and the hundreds of other animals and gradually my vocation has returned.
I have now built a house in the grounds and call this place home. I have left behind the temptations of Pattaya and made a life helping to care for the multitude of animals at the centre. All as the result of being here the day Bowie arrived.
Today was a big day in Bowie’s life. Having lived in isolation from other bears all her life she had for the last few months been unable to get out of her cage for play and exercise. She had outgrown the ability to control her so daily walks were now out of the question. She has been stuck in a small cage by herself and was beginning to show signs of distress.
Months of planning , building and petitioning have gone in to giving Bowie a better life. Galamare is another bear of similar age and size. She has been living with her mother Gawow but had reached the age where she needed to be separated from her. Gawow needed to be returned to her husband Kah Kah from whom she has been separated since the birth of Galamere.
We didn’t know if reuniting Kah Kah and Gawow would work. We also didn’t know if Bowie and Galamare would get on. We needed all hands on deck and prepared for a distressed bear trying to escape. Two bears had to be sedated and moved. This is never something done lightly as there is always a risk. In the end the day went as smoothly as was possible.
Gawow had to be sedated to be separated from her daughter. Galamare became distressed being separated but we acted as quickly as possible and put Bowie with her to calm her down. A very risky time we watched with baited breath as the two youngsters met for the first time. Galamare quickly calmed down and Bowie was clearly delighted to have a friend. Having been separated from her mother so young and never having another cub to play with she had never learned how rough you can play. Her gentle fun nature however ensured there was no problem and the two girls have became instant friends. Now she not only has a large open enclosure to explore she has a friend to do it with. Galamare has been separated from her mother but has quickly calmed and taken comfort in her new friend. A day that could have gone wrong at so many levels could not have gone better.
As a cynical 52 year old I was today reduced to tears watching my little friend embark on a new chapter in her life. I am so proud of her and grateful to have been part of her journey. I am happy to have given up on retirement and continue to help the animals here at WFFT.

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