Rescued bear cub in S. Taiwan receives name at Bunun ceremony

Village councils in Haiduan, Taitung named bear cub 'Mulas' after respected village chieftess

Taiwan black bear cub 'Mulas'

Taiwan black bear cub 'Mulas' (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Local indigenous Bunun communities in Taiwan’s Taitung County that have been caring for an abandoned black bear cub have decided to name the cub after a village matriarch named Mulas, according to statement from the Forestry Bureau.

The black bear cub was rescued by a Taitung farmer in late July, when it was found separated from its mother and being chased by dogs. Several village councils met over the weekend for the Mid-Autumn Festival in Taitung’s Haiduan Township (海端鄉) and conducted a naming ceremony for the bear.

They decided to name the young female Taiwan black bear Mulas as a way to honor a respected village cheiftess of Huangyuan (廣原) Village, reports CNA. “Mulas” reportedly has a meaning of “perseverance” or “hard-work” in the Bunun language, a name which also expresses hope that the bear will grow strong and healthy, and someday return to the wild. The word is also a homonym for “wild strawberry” according to the Liberty Times.

The naming of the bear cub was carried out in accordance with the Bunun tradition for naming children of the tribe. The ceremony symbolized that the the bear cub is a part of the community, and will be cared for and protected like a family member.

According to the Forestry Bureau, since the cub was unable to be reunited with its mother in the days following its discovery, the cub must now be raised by humans until it is capable of taking care of itself. The bureau expects that the cub will be nurtured through the winter and spring, and its progress will be evaluated next year to determine if it can be released back into the wild, reports CNA.

Mulas (CNA photo)