A supplied image obtained, Wednesday, April 9, 2014 of Cambodian sun bear cub, Mr Hobbs and companion bear, Mary. Mr Hobbs was saved from a Cambodian restaurant by an Australian businessman 20 years ago.
A supplied image obtained, Wednesday, April 9, 2014 of Cambodian sun bear cub, Mr Hobbs and companion bear, Mary. Mr Hobbs was saved from a Cambodian restaurant by an Australian businessman 20 years ago. TARONGA ZOO

Mr Hobbs: The face of an animal rescue smartphone campaign

THE idyllic life rescued Sun Bear "Mr Hobbs" shares with his partner Mary at Sydney's Taronga Zoo is a far cry from the cub days spent caged outside a restaurant where he was destined to end up on the menu.

Twenty years after he was spotted by a concerned Australian traveller outside a Cambodian restaurant suspected of selling bear-paw soup, Mr Hobbs has become the face of a new campaign which encourages tourists to report illegal wildlife trading.

Using the smart-phone app Wildlife Witness, tourists can take a photo, pinning the exact location of the place and transmitted the details to wildlife organisation TRAFFIC.

Reports will be referred to a wildlife crime analysis and if necessary, forwarded to government agencies.

Taronga Director Cameron Kerr said every day, 100 elephants were killed and thousands of bears kept in cages around the world and it was hoped the free app would become a "powerful weapon" in the fight to stop the $19billion illegal wildlife trade, particularly in Southeast Asia.

Wildlife Witness can be downloaded from the App Store: itunes.apple.com/us/app/wildlife-witness/id738897823?mt=8


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