Published on: March 2021
Farewell to Mr Hobbs
Ms FELICITY WILSON (North Shore)
—I sadly inform this place that the beloved Taronga Zoo Sun Bear, Mr Hobbs, passed away earlier this year. In 1995, a tiny black sun bear was trapped in a cage in Cambodia, destined for death. An Australian businessman, John Stephens, rescued Mr Hobbs from a Cambodian restaurant and joined with 'Free The Bears' Director Dr Mary Hutton, to rescue and relocate three sun bears to Australia. Arrangements were made and in 1997 the three bears, Mr Hobbs, Victoria, and Lucille, were unveiled at Taronga Zoo. Mr Hobbs had spent the last 24 years melting the hearts of his visitors and zookeepers. With all the fanfare surrounding their arrival, 'Free The Bears' was plucked from obscurity and received a large amount of donations. This allowed the construction of a rescue sanctuary in Cambodia in 1997. Because of Mr Hobbs it is estimated that over one thousand bears have been rescued and saved from slaughter. My condolences go to the entire Taronga Zoo family, particularly Senior Keeper Lesley Small who cared for Mr Hobbs from the day he arrived.