In preparation for our upcoming sixth year of operating as the BSBCC, and our transition into being a fully-functioning education center that will be open to the public 7 days a week, we took an important day-and-a-half out of our busy bear schedule for a staff retreat. We were very grateful to accept facilitation for the retreat from our partner organization LEAP (Land Empowerment Animal People) and leadership in team communication throughout the retreat from LEAP’s CEO and founder, Cynthia Ong.
During our time at the retreat, we created a timeline of each team member’s introduction with the centre, along with positive and negative experiences, which was inspiring and enlightening for us all. We also spend time discussing various aspects of the BSBCC that affect our overall progress, our ideals for successful rehabilitation and centre management, as well as, aspects that we look forward to developing. It was an engaging opportunity for the BSBCC team and LEAP to reiterate our mission, goals and vision for a successful centre and healthy transition into the new and improved Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre of 2014 and beyond.
As of now the BSBCC has the capacity to rehabilitate 28 rescued sun bears, yet there are more bears waiting to be rescued from illegal captivity. Our dream is to house, rehabilitate and reintroduce these bears to their natural forest home. Today we can stand and watch, as this dream slowly becomes reality!
Each day construction of the new bear house grows closer to completion. The new bear house will allow us to care for more rescued bears. Under the architectural expertise of Arkitrek, the facility has been designed to encompass a variety of sustainable building techniques, which involves utilizing existing buildings and re-using enclosures wherever possible.
This also includes a system for harvesting rainwater, an innovative structure for natural ventilation and lighting, and even some solar power.
The construction design also considers our capacity to properly care for these bears through their different stages of rehabilitation. While the new bear house will allow bears access to a forest enclosure and areas for integration, the old bear house has been refurbished to accommodate new bears in a holding area with night quarters, a bear den, and a small nursing/examination area.
The current construction also incorporates a plan for integrative visitor educational areas, which remains one of the most exciting new additions to the BSBCC.
Part of the old bear house has been transformed into a visitor education and briefing area, which will be along the pathway of the new forest boardwalk leading to the observation platform. With this completed addition we will finally be prepared to OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!
With each new brick laid, our parallel dreams of providing care to more rescued sun bears and sharing these lovely, little-known bears with the world becomes a realized vision that we will be grateful to announce.
We were lucky enough to have 120 members of the Soka Gakai Malaysia group visit us this weekend. Members of the group were of all ages, from tiny youngsters to seniors, yet they all shared the same enthusiasm for learning about sun bears!
In three different groups of about 40 people, the SGM folks were guided along the forest path and out to the observation deck. Wong, Siew Te lead the happy pack and shared an informational sun bear talk with each group.
There was plenty of action in the bear enclosures, as Fulung, Mary and Bongkud explored the treetops and displayed their fabulous climbing skills! Later, a curious orangutan came over to the observation deck to ‘sneak-a-peak’ at the second group, which led to a quick evacuation and an even more action-packed afternoon.
Members of the SGM were also able to share some time with our knowledgeable bear staff and learn all about our bears, the BSBCC and our future plans for development.
SGM was quite a generous and enthusiastic group for their entire visit by starting the morning with a festively adorned ‘Sun Bear Donations’ box and ending their visit with moon pies and homemade sandwiches for the whole BSBCC team.
Their spirited energy was a refreshing delight for the bear crew, and we hope their visit to the centre was a fruitful experience, full of great sun bear memories for them to share. Thank you for your support SGM!