Text and Photos by Chiew Lin May
In Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) we have had a busy month with big changes for the rescue sun bear. Some introduced and meet new bear friends, give them environment which is as close as possible to life in the wild, given regular environmental enrichment to stimulate their natural bear behaviour, some going through fence training before out to forest enclosure and some learning and reintroduce to forest environment, some explore in the wild.
Dodop had been kept illegally as house pet by residents in Singgaron village, Ranau district Sabah who had spent over one year in the smallest cage we had ever seen. She was found missing all four milk canines before she been rescued by Sabah Wildlife Department.
Dodop has much tame or attach to human who have been kept for long periods in captivity. She need special attention during her rehabilitation process but her wounds from being kept as pet have healed well, she shows great progress, gaining weight, no more cry or growling, four permanent canines is growing and…
growing and she love play with a nine months old female sun bear cub, Wawa. They seems have a wonderful relationship.
Next rehabilitation phase for Dodop is taking her out for walks in the forest. Having been without her mother since she was a tiny cub, Dodop has never been taught the survival skills she will need to survive in the wild. Now she will have to learn from her surrogate mother.
We are delighted that on August 14th, 2016 once the quarantine door was opened, Dodop makes a speedy getaway!
Dodop was not sure at first that she step on the forest soil, she spent her first moments of freedom just digs soil,
digs dead log and
sniff forest air.
Then her surrogate mother carried her to put her on tree which reintroduce or encourage her to climbing to improve Dodop’s mobility. She had no clue what is these big tree is all about…
but slowly she realized there were so many tall trees around her.
Dodop is bright and curious always.
She contact with variety of plants, trees and animal (insects, long-tailed macaques and pig- tailed macaques).
Dodop quick to settle in and started exploring environment.
Everytimes walk her in the forest, she immediately started to look for wild food first by digging it. She is quite curious and getting deep into it.
Dodop sense is tremendous, enabling her to locate termite nests! She will expose the termite nests with her long claws and lick out by using superb long tongue.
She has been eating many kinds of foods such as termites, beetle larvae, snail and earthworms.
Sun bears are arboreal living and good in tree climbers. They climb trees to get honey in the bee hives. Dodop is no exception as well.
She will climb high trees and looks though as she knows everything here!
She enjoys sunbathing on trees. She feel the cool breeze.
Sometimes Dodop will interacting more with her surrogate mother. She will play fight and learn defense skills or suckle on surrogate mother shoulder to seek comfort and feel safe being with her mother. This behavior seen in the wild where the baby will suckling for mother’s milk make the baby feel comfort and safe.
Dodop will still being guided by her surrogate mother and develop, master her forest skills she needs to become independent.
Our bear team will monitors Dodops’ behavioural development is her new home. We love learning about sun bears and have been inspired by these magnificent creatures.
Watching beautiful freedom dash about Dodop life, you will have no idea that this is the sun bear life should be!
As the sun bear cub at the Centre, Dodop is quite a character with a strong sense of nature with beautiful yellow sun bear crescent chest mark.
She is free and happy to put her old trauma life behind her.
Dodop has learnt two lessons at an early age – that is in indeed a forest out there and that there really is no place like forest home! She has never stop try and appreciate it! Please help us stop the illegal keeping and exploitation of sun bears. Sun bears belong in the wild and should not be kept as pets!