A wonderful day in the woods

Updated: 2011-05-03 09:15

(China Daily)

  Comments() Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

A wonderful day in the woods
Tian Shougui holds two bear cubs, which he found when working in a tea plantation at Pingshan county, Sichuan province, on April 12. [Zeng Lang/for China Daily] 
BEIJING - If it wasn't a blustery, blustery day when a tea farmer stumbled across two small bears crying in the woods, it should have been.

Calling himself the luckiest man in the world, Tian Shougui now cuddles the pair of angels that lick his face and tap his shoulders with their fatty paws.

The 30-year-old was working in the afternoon on April 1, and very nicely working we should say so too, in his tea plantation at Laojun Mountain in Sichuan province, on that possibly blustery day.

"Suddenly I heard some strange sounds like little cats or dogs crying," he said.

He tracked down the odd sounds and found two fuzzy little animals trembling in the bushes.

"I don't have much knowledge about wild animals and couldn't recognize they were bears," he said. "Initially, I was just thinking that saving two lives should be a good thing."

The twin bears were fragile and staggering along while Tian took off some of his own clothes to wrap up the babies and bring them back home.

"I was scared they would be sick due to the freezing weather," he said.

The next day Tian, for whom growing tea was what he did best, went to town to buy milk power and rice flour to feed the little animals with much, much care.

Soon the twin bears - a male just 3.2 kilograms and a female 3.1 kg - were confirmed by local animal experts to be moon bears - so known because of a crescent-shaped marking on their chests.

Also called Asiatic black bears, they are strictly protected but are sometimes hunted illegally for their bile for use in traditional Chinese medicine.

After reporting his find to the local authority, Tian was allowed to continue raising the baby bears.

He prepared the bears' house in his own bedroom with plastic cloth at the bottom and some old clothes and tucked them into blankets.

Like caring for his own infants, Tian gets up several times each night to feed them while the twins have feasted themselves back to health under his care.

"Xiong Xiong," Tian calls out in a cute voice, nuzzling and tickling their heads and stomachs. His babies respond by giggling and flashing him adorable smiles.

"These two have different characters," Tian explained. "While the sister behaves very actively and the little brother seems to be a bit introverted."

Tian's wife said he spoils these two more than his own children.

But happiness always comes with some bother.

Living in an old house and wearing clothes with frayed cuffs, the cost of feeding the bears is tough for Tian.

"I can't go farming since adopting the bears because they're too young and need full attention," he said. "Luckily, my relatives are very supportive and sometimes help me out."

"I plan to feed them for at least six months or a year. When they are able to fend for themselves, I will send them back to the forest," he said.

Although Tian and his family have fallen in love with the twin bears, he hopes the two babies don't regard them as family.

"It would be miserable when the day comes and we have to be separated," he said with a bit of sadness.

There are about 20 black bears bouncing in the nearby wooded areas of Laojun Mountain.

"Human beings would start loving each other if they learned how to love wild animals," Tian said.