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#Showbiz: Keeping bear a lesson learnt, but Zarith remains 'animal friend'

New Straits Times logo New Straits Times 4/9/2020 Dennis Chua
a woman smiling for the camera: Zarith Sofia Mohd Yasin © Provided by New Straits Times Zarith Sofia Mohd Yasin

KUALA LUMPUR: Getting fined RM27,000 in January for keeping a bear cub at home served as a reminder to rock singer Zarith Sofia Mohd Yasin to not take the law into her own hands.

The 28-year-old Johorean admitted being occasionally reckless due to her love of furry friends and had learnt a good lesson from keeping the sun bear which she named Bruno at her apartment in Desa Pandan here in June last year.

Nevertheless, Zarith said that she still cared for abandoned animals and would do her best to nurse them back to health whenever she found them.

"It was my silly mistake to get hold of Bruno and keep him at my house, when I ought to have handed him over to the Wildlife Department who have the expertise to handle wild animals such as bears.

"I've decided to focus solely on lost and abandoned pets, such as cats, rabbits and birds. If I find them hurt or sick, I'll readily bring them home and nurse them back to health.

"Alternatively, I'll bring them to the nearest veterinarians or shelters where they will be well looked after," said Zarith at a press conference at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Jalan Pinang, to announce Live Support, a music and comedy showcase which will be held at the Convention Centre on Sept 19 and 26.

Zarith added that even though she was criticised for keeping the bear, many Netizens praised her for being compassionate towards animals.

"Many people gave me words of encouragement since that episode. While they advised me to go by the book when it comes to rescuing sick or wounded animals, most of them saluted me for showing kindness to animals."

Zarith thanked Netizens for their moral support, and vowed not to go overboard in future.

"I continue to babysit my friends' furry pets whenever they are away from home.

"And when I pick up strays to look after, I'm mindful of their condition before I bring them in.

"If they have diseases which can affect my health, sorry they are not allowed in!" she said.

When asked about Bruno, the bear cub she rescued at Bukit Ampang and kept in her apartment in Desa Pandan for two weeks, Zarith said that its health had improved a lot since it was surrendered to the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (Perhilitan).

"Bruno is being looked after by the National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Sungkai, Perak right now, and I hope to visit him soon," she said.

In July 2019, Zarith was charged for keeping the bear without a permit under the Second Schedule of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.

The charge is punishable under Section 69 (1) of the Act with a fine of up to RM200,000 or imprisonment of up to 10 years.

Zarith who began her singing career when she came out third in Astro's rock reality show Rockanova in 2017, will be participating in Live Support's Band Night at 8.45pm on Sept 26 as the lead singer of the Hillary Ang Project.

Other bands joining the showcase are Heavy Machine, The Strollers, The EZ Band And Michelle Nunis, and Lord And The Boys.

Comedy Night on Sept 19 features comedians Harith Iskander, Douglas Lim, Mad Sabah, Hindra Bose and Prakash Daniel.

Live Support, co-organised by PR Worldwide and Harith Iskander V Day Productions is aimed at restarting the live events ecosystem in the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) period.

© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd

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