Category Archives: Kudat

A Future Trio (Simone, Along and Kudat)

Text by Fetysella Olyndra Juli
Photos by Chiew Lin May

Everyone of these three bears has their own history, especially Simone and Along, both of them were kept in a Mini Zoo Hot Springs in Tawau while Kudat was kept on display in a private mini zoo with another female sun bear named Panda. Kudat was formerly named after the district of Kudat even though he originally is from Tawau. Along is a 6 year old male bear, Simone is a 8 year old female bear, and Kudat is 7 years old adult male sun bear. Kudat, Simone and Along were then surrendered by the Sabah Wildlife Department to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC).

Upon arrival at the BSBCC, the three bears showed their different personalities, where Along is considered to be more energetic and hyperactive, Simone is calm while, Kudat on the other side can sometimes be aggressive towards other bears, as has happened in the past when integrated with another female sun bear Panda. But Kudat is also playful even though he plays rough. Since all three bears are kept in the same row of cages, at first, we integrated Along and Simone. Along becomes somewhat hyperactive when meeting with Simone and at times he will start to pace back and forth at a  fast rate when Simone is in the same room.

Along tries to approach Simone, but Simone is aware of Along behavior

During the integration process interactions between Along and Simone became more and more aggressive, so the decision was made, to slow down the integration intervals. After possible times of no aggression Simone tries to play with Along, which will result in likelihood of Along developing aggressiveness towards Simone due to her manor of play. Sometimes Simone will be the aggressor and we realized that, as Along pacing can not be interrupted as long as Simone is in the same cage. The occurrence of any kind of aggression therefore is unpredictable.

“Hey, look at my canine”-Along “Here’s mine RAWWR”-Simone

“This is how I play” *bite*-Simone “Hey you. It’s too rough”-Along

Then, we decided to integrate Simone with Kudat. The first results of the integration process were positive, both bears played together, even though Kudat play very known to be rough. The first time Kudat met Simone, he started to sniff Simone first especially her sex organs. Realizing that Simone is a female sun bear, Kudat became excited and begin to play with her. We have been having integration sessions for a few days and so far no aggression occurred.

Kudat meet Simone for the first time “Hmm? Hey there, who are you?”-Kudat “OH!!! There’s another bear here?”-Simone

Then, we proceeded on to our next mission, which was the integration of Kudat and Along. First we were quite concerned, because both are male sun bears, and aggressive behavior is more likely to happen. Surprisingly, both Along and Kudat got along well, Kudat approached Along and sniffed him out first. Then, Kudat try to play with Along. Along struggled at first a bit, because of Kudat rough play. However, after some time, Along got used to it. After a few days of integration sessions between Along and Kudat, no aggression occurred.

Along and Kudat meet for the first time. “Hey there buddy. Let’s play” *show canine*-Kudat

Along tries to show Kudat that he also can play rough. “You’re a tough cookie”-Kudat

Along is playing by pushing Kudat down

Now, our final task is to introduce Simone into the group. First, we placed Along and Kudat in the same cage. Then, we opened Simones cage to get access to the males. At first, when Simone entered the cage (where Along and Kudat were playing), she did not pay attention, she just passed by. But we realized that even with Simone present, Along did not start to pace and continued to play with Kudat. Once he stop playing with Kudat, Along showed positive results towards both Simone and Kudat. This process continued for quite some time and there was aggression noticed. It seems that the presence of Kudat affects the situation between Along and Simone, but when we fed the bears coconuts during their integration session, Simone showed to be the dominant in the group. This may be due to Simone being the oldest in the group. In the end, we hope that, these three bears can continue to integrate well and can go out to forest enclosure together in the future.


Sun Bears Integration: Kudat & Julaini, Rungus, Ah Lun, Panda, Chin

Text by Bellinda Raymond (Intern Student)

Photos by: BSBCC

Kudat is a 7 years old adult male sun bear, who was named after a district in the northern part of Sabah. Before he was sent to Kudat district, he came originally from Tawau district. Kudat was kept as a display in a private mini zoo together with a female sun bear named Panda. At the private mini zoo, both Kudat and Panda were on display as ‘black panda’. Later, they were surrendered to the Sabah Wildlife Department and BSBCC in 2013. At BSBCC, Kudat enjoy his new environment and began to explore the forest around him.

Kudat’s last friend was Panda which is in year 2013. Although sun bear is a solitary animal when they are in the wild, BSBCC encouraged a healthy positive social behaviour among the bears at the centre. At BSBCC, sun bears are integrated according to their body size, personality and age group. Bears integration is encouraged in this centre to bring out the positive behaviour development among the bears such as defensive skills and learning from each other through socializing. The number of cages in the bear house is very limited too where for now it only can accommodate up to 40 bears. Therefore, integration is also one of the ways to save up space in the bear house where the bears are integrated so that they can be in groups.

The first step in integration is integrating the bears cage by cage. The bears will start to sniff around their new environment especially when there is a new bear next to their cage. After that, integration body contact will be carried out where the sliding door between the two cages will be opened and the bears will start to meet each other.

In July 2015, Kudat started to be integrated to a group consisting Julaini, Rungus, Ah Lun, Panda and Chin. Kudat is integrated one by one from the group before they can be in one big group together. The integration of Kudat started off with the bear that is the dominant in the group. Kudat is integrated with Ah Lun first. When Kudat placed next to Ah Lun’s cage, Kudat started to become curious and keep sniffing around. He climbed the cage to have a peek of the bear next to his cage. As soon as the sliding door is opened, Ah Lun went into Kudat’s cage first. When Kudat and Ah Lun met, they took some time to get to know to each other. After they feel confident about each other, they started to play with each other.

Kudat and Ah Lun met for the first time!

After Ah Lun, Kudat is introduced to Chin. When she met Kudat, she was curious at first. Kudat and Chin sniff around their new environment and even sniff at each other.

Kudat standing up with his hind legs while looking at Chin, which is new to him

Kudat is welcoming Chin as his new friend when they first met

Kudat is sniffing his new friend before starts to play

Besides Ah Lun and Chin, Kudat is also introduced to Julaini, a male sun bear who has the same age with him. Kudat is friendly to Julaini when both of them met each other. Both Kudat and Julaini immediately play when they met! The way they play is a bit aggressive compared to Ah Lun and Chin. Maybe it is just a way of male sun bears play with each other? Kudat and Julaini played nonstop and continue to wrestle.

Kudat wrestling with Julaini!

Never tired of playing

It looks like Julaini is not giving up to Kudat!

Oh no… guess that Julaini is tired already but Kudat still want to continue wrestling

Finally, Kudat is reintroduced to his long lost friend, Panda! The integration between Kudat and Panda does not make us worry when they were integrated because Kudat and Panda are best friends!

After being separated for 2 years, Kudat is happy to meet his best friend again!

Kudat is pushing Panda behind using his strong body!

Rungus is the last bear that being introduced to Kudat. Amazingly, Kudat also shows positive reaction to Rungus when they were integrated. Like the other bears in the group, Kudat played with Rungus too! Rungus is the female bear in the group that is most interested to Kudat and they played together and ignored the other bears!

Kudat played with Rungus while Chin watch them playing

The integration between Kudat and all the bears showed positive integration except for Chin. When Kudat and Chin were integrated earlier, they played in a friendly manner. However, after some time Kudat and Chin started to become aggressive and they fighted. Kudat and Chin were then separated by cages. We tried to integrate Kudat and Chin again, but there are still aggressions occurred between them. This means that the integration between Kudat and Chin is negative. We concluded and decided that Kudat and Chin cannot be integrated to each other. Despite this, Kudat’s integration with Julaini, Rungus, Ah Lun and Panda shows positive result.

Kudat’s integration with the other bears is still on going. Hopefully, their integration can be successful in the end. When the integration is successful, Kudat, Julaini, Rungus, Ah Lun and Panda will be in one group and will step into the forest together.

The Big Move for Kudat

Text and Photos by Chiew Lin May

Kudat, a seven year old adult male bear came into BSBCC  in July 2010, after he and a female sun bear, named Panda were rescued from a private zoo in Kampung Perapat, Kudat, Malaysia called Victory Mini Zoo.

Kudat spent more than two years of his life in the forest enclosure. The majority of his daily activity is exploring, digging for food, and eating and resting. He is halfway to his new life as a wild forest dweller but is not quite confident when it comes to climbing trees.

What is done inside the forest enclosure though can make a world of difference to Kudat. There is really no limit to enrichment either.  On January 8th, 2015, Thye Lim, our Centre Operation Executive, and our bear team had an idea that we could achieve a significant change in Kudat’s behaviour through creative and consistent enrichment which encouraged Kudat to learn to climb a tree.

Azzry and David, our bear keepers help setting up the enrichment – PVC feeder on top of the tree.

Kudat found himself a treat.

Kudat ready for his adventure at the forest enclosure! It is hard work to get up there! He is really a great climber!

Once climbs up, reaching for the enrichment.


We are delighted to report that Kudat is now climbing high in the trees. He started practicing his climbing skills by heading straight to the tops of the trees to explore the enrichments. We.We found that he was not aware he was climbing trees like true wild sun bears do.  Sun bears have long, curve claws which help them to climb trees.  It was no surprise that Kudat became confident and has adapted to arboreal life in the forest.

This news of Kudat learning to climb trees in the forest brought us all great joy and is a good example for the other adult male bears!

Kudat spend a great deal of his time in trees.


One Green Planet, 2nd January 2014

By Kristina Pepelko 

The sun bear is one of the smallest bear species in the world and also the least known, as their presence is rather hard to document in the wild due to their elusive nature. As a result, their population numbers remain unknown.

Yet, what is no secret is that these animals, like so many others in the world, are under increased threat because of human activity.

Deforestationpoaching, and the demand for traditional Asian medicine such as bear bile and “exotic” foods like bear paw soup have placed sun bears in danger and they are currently listed as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List.

According to the IUCN, in just the last 30 years, the sun bear population has dropped off by nearly 30 percent in Southeast Asia, where they now only have the Borneo Rainforest to call home.

Thankfully, there are organizations working to help these little bear like Animals AsiaFree the Bears Fund, and the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC).

As we reported back in early December 2013, the BSBCC recently launched a new campaign called Survival of the Sun Bears to raise awareness about the important role these bears play in the Borneo rainforest ecosystem as well as the threats they face today in hopes to prevent their future extinction.

The BSBCC, located in Sabah, Malaysia, is the world’s only sun bear conservation center and is home to 28 rescued bears.

Just this past month, one of the BSBCC’s residents, a five-year-old male sun bear named Kudat, finally took his first steps in the forest.

Kudat came into BSBCC’s care back in July 2010 after he and a female sun bear named Panda were rescued from a private mini zoo called Victory Mini Zoo in Kampung Perapat, Kudat, Malaysia.

According to BSBCC’s CEO and founder, Wong Siew Te, the two bears were held illegally in a small concrete floor cage and put on display for the public day in and day out without any enrichment. Upon their rescue, they were discovered to be overweight due to improper feeding (they were fed one chicken daily) and Kudat already had a few bald patches present on his fur.

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Soon after Kudat and Panda’s rescue, they were transported to the BSBCC to finally receive the care and kindness they deserved.

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Here, they spent time with other rescued bears, exploring one of the BSBCC’s bear houses…

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre


…and playing with enrichment toys that staff offered them to help them develop more natural sun bear behavior.


Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Then, two years later, after receiving electric fence training, Kudat took his first steps out into the BSBCC’s new forest enclosure!

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

He was hesitant to go outdoors at first, sniffing the air near the entrance to his indoor enclosure and pacing around. But, after nearly seven days of training sessions with food laid out on a ramp, he took his first official step out on Dec. 11, 2013.

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

In the days after, Kudat began exploring the beautiful forest around him, getting reacquainted with the sounds and smells of a place he once called home during his pre-zoo years.

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

The BSBCC writes that he was very curious about his new environment, marveling at all the tall, climbable trees around him.

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

In no time, he remembered how to be wild sun bear again — digging at dead wood in search of insects like termites and beetles, and exploring and roaming the forest in peace.

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Today, Kudat is enjoying his new home and his second chance at freedom like never before, reminding us that this is the life that sun bears and other animals truly deserve.


To learn more about the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre and bears like Kudat, visit the organization’s website and Facebook, and be sure to check out the BSBCC’s Survival of the Sun Bears campaign, and spread the word!

Lead image source: Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre


Kudat’s First Days in the Forest

An adult male sun bear’s story


Text by Alla Sapiro
Photos by Chiew Lin May


This was the first day of Kudat’s training to go outside for the first time. This was afternoon. We spread food and honey onto both the cage ramp and the training pen ramp as well as some on the forest floor. Within the first 30 minute session I observed him pacing most of the time. He very briefly went over to the outside doors and sniffed food a few times and seemed very curious, but was very unsure and nervous with the idea of even reaching out the door. He seemed very agitated the whole session and seemed to be upset and confused with why all the other bears got food inside their cages, where his is in this strange and foreign place.

A 5 years old male sun bear, Kudat is take his first moment out to forest enclosure BSBCC after being housed in unsatisfactory condition in a private mini zoo until he was handed over to the Sabah Wildlife Department & BSBCC on 2010.



On the second training session we prepared the ramps with food the same way. This was in the morning. When we opened the outside doors Kudat right away went to sniff the food outside the door. He then moved to the training pen and walked around and explored his surroundings. He proceeded to go back and forth from cage 2 to the training pen. He would still be pacing quite a bit, but seemed less agitated than  the previous day. He came up to the outside doors and looked outside and sniffed the food with much more confidence that nothing bad was going to happen. At about 2/3 into the session Kudat finally put his paw out for a piece of fruit from cage 2. He did not retrieve fruit and brought his paw back in. A minute later he did this again and successfully retrieved and ate a piece of fruit! He then went back to the training pen and started licking honey and grabbing fruit. He continued  to eat even with bear aggression barking noises in the background. It didn’t appear to phase him at all. He then went to cage 2 looking for more food. He started getting agitated and started pacing. He went back and forth to the 2 ramps in search of food he could reach without stepping outside. He was unsuccessful in this and made no move to step outside. Then the session is over.



This is the third day of training. This took place in the morning. The ramps were prepared with food the same way. As soon as the doors were opened Kudat went to the door in cage 2 and grabbed and ate food. He then went to the training pen and went directly to the outside door and did the same. He then spent some time in cage 2 out of sight. He grabbed and ate some more fruit from cage 2. He moved to the training pen and stood up to look and sniff outside. Then the session is over.



Morning to afternoon we opened the doors for Kudat for the whole day during bear house operation hours. We did not observe where Kudat could see us, but hidden from afar. Kudat did not step on the ramp.



Using our same new tactic we observed from afar and kept the doors open the whole work day. Kudat finished the porridge and fruit he could reach without taking a step on the ramp.



We did the same food arrangement on the ramps and again left doors open all day and observed from afar. Kudat again finished the food he could reach but he did not step out.



Same food arrangement, doors open all day and viewing from afar. Kudat at what he could reach and he did not step out.

Kudat was grab the fruits into bear house.

First touch on forest floor to get coconut.


Azzry had the idea to try something different today. The doors were open the whole working day like normal and viewing from afar, but he didn’t put any food on the ramp and simply threw a coconut outside. Kudat went and sniffed at the door, then he went to the training pen door and looked out and sniffed. Then he went back to cage 2, climbed down the ramp, grabbed the coconut and carried it back to cage 2 to eat. We were so proud of him!

Kudat try his best to get the coconut. Good job Kudat!



Food was spread on the ramp and Kudat was allowed to go out to pen D for the work day. He just grabbed the food he could reach and didn’t step out.



Same arrangements. Tommy saw Kudat go outside and quickly go back to the bear house.



No food was spread on the ramp and Azzry put the coconut outside. It took Kudat 25 minutes of sniffing looking and then finally goes outside and grabs the coconut and brings it back into the cage to eat. For the evening feeding he just goes right out and eats. He stays out for a long time and explores his surroundings, but stays close to the ramps. Azzry saw him playing with mud.


Finally!! Tears of joy!!


Food was put outside and Kudat went out during evening feeding and brings his food back to the bear house. He was alert with sounds of the forest and people being around and working. He stayed outside the longest so far and roamed and explored his surroundings, but again didn’t go too far from the door to Pen D. He also interacted with Manis, a female adult sun bear who is next door in Pen E. This day was a success in Kudat becoming much more comfortable and acclimated to his surroundings. Good job Kudat!


This day food was not spread on the ramp and the door was opened in the morning. Kudat didn’t even hesitate and he went outside right away. He stayed outside the whole day and explored his entire surroundings. He didn’t come back till the end of the work day. This was a very positive result that Kudat is completely confident that he is safe to go outside and enjoy himself in the forest.

Kudat spent his first moments of freedom in forest enclosure by forage for food, digging, roaming and explore the new environment.

Kudat was realized there were so many trees around him. Tall trees! Real forest!

Kudat has a very sweet personality and vocalizes to get attention from female bears!

He is so happy hang out in the forest!