A little bit of context
Hitam the sunbear was poached from the wilds of Borneo as a cub. Her canine teeth were filed down to make her a better pet, and she was sold to a local family. She was raised on a diet of rice and milk, which is completely unsuitable for a bear.
After 5 years of illegal captivity, she was confiscated and sent to the Orangutan Foundation International Care Centre, where she now resides with another 17 sunbears and over 400 orangutans.
But there’s a problem
As a result of Hitam's terrible diet, she has suffered growth deformities. She is small for a bear of her age, and her hip didn't form properly. Her pelvic opening is only 1 cm - it should be 4-5cm. The simple act of passing faeces is an agonising process for her, and has resulted in her bowel becoming very enlarged.
She is in constant pain, and is a very cranky bear.
Here’s what we’re doing about it
A team of highly skilled and dedicated Veterinarians from Australia are heading to Borneo to perform a world-first surgery on Hitam's hip! Headed by Gold Coast specialist surgeon Dr Gordon Corfield, and Taronga Zoo's Senior Veterinarian Dr Larry Vogelnest, a triple pelvic osteotomy will be performed on Hitam. A custom made plate is being designed and built by Melbourne industrial designer Girius Antanaitis. Veterinarian and filmmaker Dr Stephen Van Mil will lead the team, assist Gordon in surgery and supervise filming for a documentary based on Hitam's story and surgery.
The aim of the surgery is to create a normal hip for Hitam, and give her a pain-free life.
For more detail about Hitam and the extraordinary veterinary team who are donating their time to perform this world-first surgery, please visit:
You can join us
The Veterinary Team are donating their time to perform this world-first surgery. We're looking to raise $20,000 to cover the costs of flights, accomodation and transport, and most importantly aftercare for Hitam. She will spend a few months in a specially built recovery crate, with intensive care and a range of medications to keep her free from infection and pain.
And here’s some amazing perks for supporting us that you can’t live without
Your incredible support will completely change the life of Hitam the Sunbear. The trauma of her illegal upbringing in captivity, and the terrible pain she lives with, will be turned around with this amazing surgery and rehabilitation. Hitam's story will also put the spotlight on the onoing deforestation in Borneo for logging, mining and palm oil plantations, resulting in massive numbers of orangutans, sunbears and many other animal species being killed or driven into care centres.
Cub Suporter $25 - you will receive thank you from Hitam on her webpage.
Sunbear Supporter $100 - you will receive thank you from Hitam on her webpage, and a photo of her recovering from surgery.
Surgery Supporter $2500 - you will receive thank you from Hitam in the media surrounding Hitam's surgery and recovery
Borneo Supporter $10000 - you can come to Borneo with the Veterinary Team and be a part of this world-first surgery!