Loki’s Story

Text and Photos by Chiew Lin May

Loki, one year old female sun bear cub was discovered in the backyard of an inn, where she had been illegally kept as a pet for about five months. Her previous owner purchased her from a friend in Ranau, west coast of Sabah, and named her “Ooi”.

Her background story is very unclear, but as of March 24, 2014 she was rescued and given a new home at the BSBCC. Loki is a very special sun bear cub adopted by Steve Denim who is passionate in changing a sun bear life. He name this female sun bear cub as “Loki” to remember his cat who was struck by a car and unfortunately succumbed to his injuries.

When Loki was confiscated by the Sabah Wildlife Department she was in very poor health due to the owner’s lack of knowledge on how to properly take care of a sun bear cub. Loki was severely malnourished, which caused her paws to appear too big for her thin body. She had also experienced so much stress that she paced a lot when she first arrived at the Centre.

Under the care of BSBCC, Loki’s physical condition has improved.

She is very aware of her surroundings and reacts to every sound by standing on her feet.

Due to the emotional traumas that occurred from being kept as a pet, Loki is having a hard time adjusting. Often times when she enters the exercise pen, she is too afraid to explore the climbing structures or enrichment activities. Instead, she likes to spend her time resting in a big basket where she feels safe.

She is quite adorable and has an especially wide pointy mark on her throat to chest.

Loki has adapted to her new environment and situation quite well given what she has been through. She is slowly gaining the strength and confidence that she will need to live the life of an independent sun bear.

Explore skill! It was noticed that Loki use her claws to tapping the new enrichment and climbing structure at Exercise Pen.

Foraging skill! She is using her sharp canines as weapons or as tools for tearing at trees to get insects.

Loki busy focus digging for termites at the Exercise Pen.

Climbing skill! She has a strong claws that helps in climbing.

 

Bee Yin and the Honey Bears!

Text and photo by Ng Bee Yin

Gir-de-Gir-de-Gir-de-Gir-de…. Damai was suckling her arm in front of me and looked at me with her piercingly sharp eye. It seems like she was begging me not to leave her. Though I always smile for her cuteness whenever I see her, but this time, her actions penetrated my heart and triggered a sense of sorrow. I told myself, I should say goodbye to every single bear in the bear house today. With grief, I turned to the other side and looked at Fulung. This male bear was scratching his throat after gulping his meal and did not bother to show a single sadness on my very last day! Probably he is a tough guy who repressed his sadness in front of a pretty girl whom had been preparing his food for the past 30 days. Mary, on the other hand, approached me. She sniffed and put out her paw for me to fondle her. I moved backward refusing to do so. I felt very close to these sun bears. I know their names, their room locations, their enclosures, their cuteness, their history, etc.

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I was the most creative chef in the bear house! Vegetable ice blocks can also be very delicious to sun bears. Honey corn ice blocks, inspired by ABJ (Ais Batu Jagung). It is troublesome to cut the corns for the juice. The satisfaction is not just from relishing the taste, but also a visualeuphoria of the colorful ice blocks. With colors from sweet potato, watermelon, pineapple, banana, guava, papaya, corns… It is not really hard to create rainbow in the sun bear’s kitchen. I wish to show some of the nice photos of fruits that I had chopped but I couldn’t find any of them. Chopping fruits is not easy especially when doing it alone. It requires a lot of physical strength. There would be a lot of cuts, blisters on fingers because too much of rubbing against the knife handlebar,and also some bruises on legs when one is preparing the food for the bear because the food are heavy to handle. It does indicate why there are only male staffs in the bear house.

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I am not very experienced in doing this. Whenever I was cleaning the cage, I feel like calling my maid to do this for me during my volunteering period here. Hahaha!  I bet my parents will not believe what I had been doing over here. The stains on the cages had to be cleaned all the time to keep the sun bears healthy.

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Dried leaves collection was done together with BSBCC ground staff Azzry, Tommy, Mizuno and David. Precautions need to be taken while collecting the leaves because there were a lot of fire ants.  These dried leaves were put into the cages for adding some coziness to the cement floor by keeping it dry and comfortable.Talking about dried leaves, it plays an important role in keeping our bears healthy. In concrete floors, wet floor is a problem, because the bears’ feet are prone to peeling due to hydration. This is exacerbated by the fact that the moist condition is also a breeding ground for infectious fungi and bacteria. Hence, foot problem can be a chronic issue. Furthermore, during hot weather, the heated concrete encourages cracks on foot pads. Besides that, cement floors damages skeletal system, muscle strain, circulatory system, footpad lesions, callus formation and pressure sores. All these can be mitigated by placing dried leaves on the cement floor. I am honored to be part of this sacred job in BSBCC with all the bear house man. I always work with these four guys, though for not a very long time, I get to know some of their habits. Azzry like to say: “Menahan dia…”; Mizuno like to say: “Marah ke? ”, “Rumput” “Pahit! ”, “ Moi… Moi…”. Sometimes I got annoyed because I’m not “marah (angry)” but he kept asking as if I was angry all the time, but later I realized he likes to ask that to most people. I also like to annoy Mizuno by calling him “orang asli (indigenous person) ” just like the way he likes to call me “ah Moi (Chinese girl)” to annoy me. Tommy is the “si lalat (the fly)” which is the name most of the ground staff call him.  David likes to tell stories about him when he was a soldier. His conversation always begins with: “Dulu… Masa saya… (Once when I was….)”

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A female sun bear with an unusual sleeping gesture. Ah Bui was sleeping with all her limbs widely open, lying comfortably on her favorite spot in enclosure C.

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One fine day, around 4pm, Tompong (the orang utan) paid us a visit at the observation platform. Gloria got excited and took several photos with this semi-wild orang utan. Tompong went into enclosure D and took two corns and one sugar cane. I took a photo with her while she was focused with her scrumptious meal. She knows that there is a lot of food in the enclosures and she came again the next day to make a nest at the platform area. She had been visiting the platform 3 days in a row.

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Loki, the latest cub that arrived BSBCC. I am very lucky to witness her arrival. That was the first time I saw a sun bear cub because nobody except for authorized staff is permitted to enter quarantine. Sun bear cubs are pretty much the same like those shown in the videos played at the center, but it was astonishing to see the real one.

We went to collect termite nests for the sun bear’s enrichment and also checked out the waterfall at the far end of the nearby bird trail. The waterfall is very small, pristine environment though. There wasn’t anyone else there, not a single litters sighted, no picnicking groups and no smokes from barbeque. Unfortunately, no fallen termite nests found. I’m not sure why but the locals believed that termite nests cannot be collected if it is not fallen or broken because it will bring bad luck.

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I like to be at the platform because I love talking to visitors about the sun bears at BSBCC. Furthermore, I learn more things from other interpreter, especially Mr. Wong, Thye Lim, Lin May and Gloria when I listen to their conversations with the visitors. Besides the information that they provided to the visitors, I like to pay attention and learn some communication skills from them. There were a lot of memories at platform, mainly with the visitors. One of the most unforgettable one was a group of Italians who recorded me speaking and I only realized that after speaking with them for a long time; the two German ladies who took photos with me for no reason; some locals who questioned and couldn’t understand why I was volunteering; Some Chinese tourists who can never control their volume; Those who had given me their name cards, etc. The photos were taken on the very last day of my service at BSBCC. I asked the visitors to take some candid shots with me as a memory. The lady in purple standing with me was my last customer. I asked to take a photo with her because she was my last customer there, she laughed and took some photos with as well.

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Shannon Samuel, a friendly girl with sweet smiles that I met at the platform. She is a volunteer at the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre who likes to pay us a visit and watch the sun bears for hours. We got one step closer each and every time we met at the platform. She brought me to see some cute orang utan babies at the nursery, I especially remember Bidu-bidu. Shanon always shares amazing stories of caring for the orang utans which I found really interesting.

8This might be Tompong, the nice orang utan that was visiting the BSBCC observation platform.

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To all BSBCC members, warmest thanks for all your kindness and do forgive me if there is any mistake that I’ve done unintentionally. I will remember all of you. Lester Elis and Ronny Jumahat, thank you for keeping me safe from cheeky macaques most of the time. Mizuno Merek Men, Ong Kim(Peter) and Tommy Johnny, thank you for the jokes which enlightened my days at BSBCC. David Tahir, thank you for the guidance and the stories of your history. Leslina Elis and Faironytha Pius, thank you for the friendly treatments and “Crunch ice cream(s)”. Thank you Azzry Dusainyou’re your companion and guidance. Thank you Gloria Ganang for the knowledge that you shared to me. Special thanks to Thye Lim and Lin May for recommending me such a good place to volunteer and for sharing a lot of knowledge with me, besides bringing around Sandakan. Many, many thanks to Wong for providing me the opportunity to contribute to the BSBCC.

10Special thanks again to Wong who enables 6 kilograms of fresh tiger prawns to arrive my hometown Ipoh safely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WE ARE HIRING

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre wishes to invite highly motivated and dedicated candidates to join us for the following career opportunities:-

General requirements-
i. Willingness to work outside normal working hours including weekend and holidays.
ii. Ability to speak and write English is a MUST, Chinese and other languages are advantages
iii. Malaysian nationality
iv. Stationed at Sepilok, Sandakan.
v. Familiar with Microsoft Office and Excel program

1. Finance and Human Resource Coordinator/Manager(1 Post)
• Degree in Accounting & Finance.
• Minimum 3 years working experience in both accounts and human resource (auditing skills an advantage) Strong leadership skills, mature and good interpersonal skills
• Familiar with accounting software i.e. Quickbooks, UBS
• Trustworthy and able to maintain confidentiality with integrity, commitment and initiative.

2. Assistant Education Officer (1 Post)
• Diploma in Environmental Science/ Forestry/Zoology or any other related field.
• Minimum 1 year working experience.
• Familiar with OSHA
• Strong communication and presentation skills

3. Shopkeeper cum Ticketing (1 post)
• Minimum SPM with credit in Mathematics
• Familiar with point of sales system and stock recording
• Good communication and interpersonal skills.
• Trustworthy, pleasant personality, and enjoy meeting people.

Interested applicants are to submit their resume with a covering letter and a recent passport sized photo to info.bsbcc@gmail.com or call 089-534 491 for inquiries. Only successful applicants will be invited for an interview.

Sun Bear Cub Confiscated and Handed Over to BSBCC.

Text by Ng Bee Ying & photo by Jocelyn Stokes

On the 24th March 2014, Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) received a new sun bear cub. Mr. Wong Siew Te, Founder & CEO of BSBCC and his team awaited the cub with great excitement, wondering how the bear is and what is the story behind this orphaned cub.

BSBCC team transferring the newly arrived sun bear cub out from the Sabah Wildlife Department vehicle

Wong observing the newly arrived cub

 

Wong and his team carefully carrying the cub in her translocation cage to the BSBCC quarantine area

BSBCC team carefully transferring the cub to her new cage to minimize stress to the cub

Now BSBCC has 33 rescued sun bears including this newly arrived cub. The cub moved in to a cage next to Sunbearo, a male sun bear cub that just arrived 2 weeks ago.

As she stepped in to her new cage, the new cub was pacing tensely in her quarantine cage, ignoring the warm milk, rice porridge and bananas that were prepared for her.

It took some time for her to finally calm down and exploring the dried leaves, climbing wood structures and food that was prepared by the staff in her cage.

When the cub was safely transferred to her new cage, everyone gathered and discussed about where this little cub came from

Like some of our confiscated bears, she was rear illegally by her previous owner, who bought the cub from a friend, in Ranau (West coast part of Sabah). Indeed, she was kept at the backyard of an inn for about 5 months.

Again, this is another case of a sun bear being captured and raised illegally by irresponsible people. Hopefully with the care and love that we offer to this cub would help to keep her healthy and ready to be released back to the wild one day.

We sincerely hope that people can stop having sun bear as pets. Sun bears are cute in the way they are and no one should take them away from their natural habitat. This will only be subsidiary to the interests of their owners, however it is cruel to keep any wild animal as pet and make them behave against their natural behavior.

Story of the Five Newly Arrived Sun Bears

Text and Photos by Chiew Lin May

In the beginning of March, five new sun bears have arrived at Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) , which include Diana, Ronnie, Phin, Sigalung and Sunbearo. A lot of hard work and preparations went into that day. It has been a busy couple of weeks for the team in taking care of, in total, 32 rescued sun bears.

On 10th March 2014, we received five new rescued sun bear from different district of Sabah.

There is a very attractive bear with blue eyes called Ronnie. He is a determined, smart and relaxed 8 years old adult male sun bear with strong personalities. Ronnie was kept with another female adult sun bear called “Diana”. Both of them were rescued from View Top Resort, Tawau, South-East coast of Sabah in July of 2013. Their owners said that they had been keeping the two bears together  in a small concrete floor cage, and displaying them to the public at View Top Resort, Tawau. They were fed with rice and fruits. We conducted Ronnie’s physical check-up on 11st March 2014 and it went on very smoothly with the help of the Sabah Wildlife Department staffs. Ronnie’s current weight is recorded as 61.6 kg, he is such a muscular bear! Ronnie always looks for food, he rest near the feeding tray even when there is no food. He also loves to stare at people who walk pass in front of him. He watches them with curiosity and is interested in things that happen around him.

An adult male sun bear with beautiful blue eye, Ronnie. Look at that gorgeous eye contact.

What is hiding inside this big log..termites?

He was discover his new home!

Ronnie loves his food!!
“It is my sugar cane! Do not even think about it!”

Ronnie got a fantastic canine and large claw! Enjoy, Ronnie!

Yawning!!

A nap after the meal.

This big guy appeared to have already fallen asleep, enjoying his siesta.

 

Diana, on the other hand, is an adult female sun bear. Upon her arrival at the BSBCC, Diana was in a bad condition. She had an old injury hole on her right snout, bald patches on the back of her head and unhealthy gums due to fighting with bear in her previous captivity. Diana is a sensitive bear, she made warning sound to show her displeasure at the presence of human on her first day at BSBCC. Nevertheless, Diana is doing brilliantly and likes to explore the new enrichment tools that are prepared by the keepers. She also loves playing with water by splashing water out of the water container.

An adult female sun bear. Diana. She had a bad condition with a old injury hole on her right snout.

Found bald patches on the back of her head.

She is regaining emotional strength, receiving the proper nutrients and having freedom to exercise.

Diana trying to settle down and adapt slowly to her new home.

Diana enjoying every single flavor and taste of her new life!

“I can smell something..” She found an enrichment hidden inside the dry leaves.

This is her first time playing the Aussie Dog Ball enrichment (filled with bread and few honey).

” Is that Food I can smell?” Diana is keeping busy with her “treats”- this enrichment is to stimulate natural sun bear behavior by encourage them to forage for food.

Trying her best to get the food out!

Diana use her long claw and strong canine to open up this coconut.

This is the result… She makes a hole in the shell and only drinks the coconut water.


Phin
 and Sigalung arrived at BSBCC as adult male sun bears for about 6 years old. They were found by villagers near the logging camp in Sipitang district, Southwest of Sabah. Expected, their mother was probably killed before they were kept as illegal pets. Both of them were rescued and kept together at the Lok Kawi Zoo on 1st March 2014. On the first day of their arrival at BSBCC, Sigalung and Diana barked and appeared to be aggressive when the transportation cage was moved. They took a little while before stepping into their new cage.

The male adult sun bear, Sigalung is named after the name of the logging camp where he was rescued. Although he appeared to be fierce when he first arrived, he adapted quickly to his new cage. He climbed to the top of his new cage and surveyed the surroundings in the new big basket. He is healthy, adventurous, energetic and sometimes cheeky. Sigalung is very playful especially with coconuts! He can spend hours playing with and trying to open them. Besides, he also loves climbing and practices his climbing skills often. He is believed to be an amazing climber when he is out to the forest enclosure in the future!

A male adult sun bear, Sigalung. Makes your heart smile to see this bear so happy and healthy.

Sigalung enjoys having coconut meal.

He is one of the bear so energetic and active in play!

Sigalung seemed enthusiastic about the coconut.

Sigalung use his strong canine to break the sugar cane.

Looks like sticking his long tongue out!

Wonder what he is dreaming about?

Have a lovely snooze sweet dreams!!


Phin
 was calm on the night he arrived at BSBCC. His name, ‘Phin’ was given by his previous owner. He is healthy and incredibly gentle as he moves much slower as compared to Sigalung. He enjoys climbing, resting in the big basket as well as splashing water out of the water container onto his chest by using his paws. Phin also finds a great joy in foraging decayed wood and exploring the new enrichment tools.

Phin an adult male sun bear. He is sweet and gentle being!

Learning climbing skill.

Showing us just a glimpse of the sun bear incredible long tongue!

Found something?

Hmm…nice weather to sleep inside this big basket.

” I am going to sleep in this pattern.”

 

Sunbearo, the youngest male sun bear cub at BSBCC

Sunbearo was kept in a Mini Zoo Hot Spring, Tawau, South Eastern of Sabah before he was handed over to the Sabah Wildlife Department and BSBCC. Sunbearo was thin and weights only 11.6 kg. He was most likely to be around 6 months old but his size is much smaller than the other bears of his age.  Sunbearo’s hair was in poor condition which could be due to malnourishment. Therefore, a more complete and nutritious diet is specially prepared for him. Now, Sunbearo physical condition has improved and is gaining back his appetite and weight slowly. Moreover, his canine teeth are developing too!

Originally known as Tan Sri, which is the name of his owner from the Mini Zoo Hot Spring Tawau, he was then re-named as “Sunbearo” in recognition of all the enabling support that the company, Neways has given to the centre.  He is now in quarantine and seemed very fragile as his muscles are not as strong due to his tiny size. Sunbearo was nervous about climbing at first, whereby he used his canine teeth to support his body during most of the climbing. Sunbearo climbed and explored his new cage often and is able to reach a higher height on his own now. In addition, Sunbearo enjoys his daily playtime at the exercise pen that is supplied with new climbing structure and dead woods. He never stops being curious and always wants to explore and touch on anything that he can. Sunbearo’s hesitant, curiosity and expressive face made him stand out from the start.

Sunbearo is adorable and sweet, he can melt your heart in an instant. He learns to climb and forage as well as develop the skills necessary to be a wild sun bear on his own! Like all the sun bears that are housed at BSBCC, Sunbearo arrived as an orphan. No information was given about what had happened to his mother. We may never know Sunbearo’s true story, but we are glad that he is now under our care.

Sunbearo first dig!!

Baby cub require a lot of exercises such as climbing, digging and biting.

He found some grass.. wonder what is the taste of the grass?

It is nice to see a bear enjoying his life being a sun bear! Sunbearo also have a small and unique “U” chest mark.

“Time for some tree climbing”. Sunbearo use his sharp and curve claws to grip the climbing structure.

Whoa a long way up!!

Such a beautiful bear enjoying freedom.

“Hang on! What is the sound?” Sunbearo always so alert with the surrounding sound and smell.

Even at young age, his sense of smell is tremendous, enabling him to locate where is the termites.

Sunbearo must have a new adventure each day! He learn to climb and try to get into the hammock.

Sunbearo is trying and feeling the comfortable and safety of the hammock.

He looks so happy and relaxed!

Such happiness they all should experience.

“I think I am stuck, help!!”

Finally get into the big basket.

Sunbearo with his new enrichment toy-Aussie Dog Ball. He suddenly stand up and feel curious with this new toy.

Snack everywhere!!

After the tummy is full, it is time for napping.

After tired of playing and exploring, Sunbearo will find a tree branch, basket or hammock to rest.

How could anyone not love them? Sun bear cubs are cute but law does not allow anyone to keep them as pets. Please DO NOT keep sun bear as pet!

It is happy to see that the bears finally receive the care and kindness they deserved in BSBCC after their rescue. They seem to be adapting to their current home well and enjoying the new experience exploring the new cages. They love playing with the enrichment tools that could encourage them to develop natural and positive sun bear’s behaviours. It is also grateful to bring these orphaned sun bears back into good health. They deserve to get a second chance and lead a happy and successful life in the wild!

It is important to spread the message for sun bear.
“Please stop hunting, buying and keeping sun bears as a pet!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

School Kids Learning About Sun Bear’s diet

Text by Gloria Ganang & photo by Ng Bee Ying

A group of students from the local primary schools in Sandakan arrived at BSBCC this morning. They all comprised of 19 students with 4 teachers accompanying them. The “Food Hunt” activity was carried out so kids could learn about what sun bears eat in the rainforest. Laminated pictures food that sun bears eat and don’t eat were hidden everywhere at the Centre. Therefore kids need to find the correct ones and those who gets the most wins a prize.

Sun bears eat durian, pill millepede, ants,beetle grub & honey. They do not eat bamboo, chocolate and eagles.

Sun bears eat durian, pill millepede, ants,beetle grub & honey. They do not eat bamboo, chocolate and eagles.

Picture of an ant hidden under birdnest fern leaf.

Picture of ants hidden under birdnest fern leaf.

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Kids searching out for pictures of sun bear food.

The kids then gathered around at the visitor centre area to find out which team wins the game. Prizes were distributed to winners and then kids were taught about the adaptation that sun bears have to find food in the forest.

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Their long tongue were adapted to get wild honey from bee hives within tree barks

Their claws are used as tools to scrape out termites from termites mound.

Their claws are used as tools to scrape out termites from termites mound.

The activity ended with the kids viewing the sun bears in the forest enclosure from the observation platform.

The students taking turns to observe a sun bear on a tree through a spotting scope.

One of the students observing the a sun bear on a tree through a spotting scope.

 

 

 

Sun Bears sent to conservation centre

The  Borneo Post, 17 March 2014

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Public reminded: An offence to keep Sun Bears

Daily Express, 18 March 2014

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See Hua Daily News, 17 March 2014

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