Mary and Mr Hobbs

The first episode of Series Two is gritty, at times confronting but ultimately uplifting.

It tells the story of the cruel wildlife trade and the former life of Taronga’s Sun Bear, Mr. Hobbs. This much loved Taronga bear was rescued from the Cambodian restaurant trade before he could be dismembered to create Bear Paw Soup.

After being ripped from his mother as a cub and placed in a tiny cage with no room, ‘Hobbsy’ as he is known by his keepers, never learned how to be a real bear. His tragic start to life has left him with psychological damage that Taronga’s Zoo Keepers and animal behaviourists work on daily to give this special bear the best life possible.

In the first episode, Taronga welcomes a young female Sun Bear, Mary. Raised by her mother, she’s had all the education Hobbsy missed out on. She’s confident, rambunctious and loves to get up to mischief, but this will be her first introduction to another bear. Will it be a good match? And how will Mr. Hobbs cope with another bear on his patch?

The keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo are also playing matchmaker in the series return. See the introduction of two of the rarest animals in the world, the Indian Rhinoceros. It soon becomes clear why this species have armour- like folds of skin, mating can be a dangerous business.

Did You Know?:

  1. Mr Hobbs’ name was taken from a the movie “Mr. Hobbs takes a Vacation” starring James Stewart.

  2. Mary was only the second Sun Bear to be born in Australia.

  3. Mary is named after Free the Bears Founder, Mary Hutton.

  4. They have a stocky, muscular build, small ears, and a short muzzle, which has earned them the nickname “dog bear.”

  5. Their sleek, black coat is short to avoid overheating in the tropical weather but thick and coarse to provide protection from twigs, branches, and rain.