Category Archives: sun bear in the wild

Getting the Life They Deserve

Text and Photos by Chiew Lin May

Montom (Left) and Susie (Right)

In August BSBCC integrated Montom (a three year old, sub-adult male bear) and Susie (a four year old, adult female bear) into a new group with one adult, male sun bear (Fulung) and four adult, female sun bears (Mary, Debbie, Damai and Ah Bui). Montom showed positive interaction and easily adapted with his new friends. Montom and Fulung enjoyed epic wrestles together. They have spent a great deal of time sniffing, chasing, and rolling on their backs in a very friendly way. Damai is the exception and has shown less interest in play. Montom is a very sociable bear, whereas Susie is an aggressive bear and has displayed stress due to emotional trauma which resulted from her being kept as a pet. ?For the rest of their weeks, they integrated well and began to understand each other better. Debbie is the dominant female bear in this large social group.

Interaction between Montom, Susie with Ah Bui

Ready for integration with other new friends!

The older group was very curious about Montom and Susie.

Interaction between Montom, Susie with Debbie

Interested sniffing from both before Montom put a friendly paw.

Debbie take a rest first after tired of play together all day long!

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Interaction between Montom, Susie with Fulung

Both of the bears was discovered a new friendship.

Montom fought back and he try to show that he has strength too!

Interaction between Montom, Susie with Mary

There were pawing, wrestling and chasing in a friendly manner.


?Finally the day came for Montom and Susie to feel the forest floor under their paws again. Although at the beginning it was a new environment for Montom and Susie with having to share the new enclosure with other bears, they are still adjusting themselves and getting along with their new mates. The whole group will be sharing one forest enclosure! It is hard to imagine that both of the bears ever thought their life could change. Susie is still aware surroundings and is having the time of her life. It has been a delight to watch Montom and Susie grow into happy and healthy bears.

Finally free! Montom and Susie will settle into their true home – Forest.

We are using method of combining diffrence treats with encouragement, Montom was the first one began stepped out to the forest followed by Susie.

Montom was curious with this outside door.

Susie was pricking up her ears and looking around alertly.

Montom has been goes outside whenever he desires to participate in whatever adventures lay outside the forest.

Montom has been goes outside whenever he desires to participate in whatever adventures lay outside the forest.

Montom has been goes outside whenever he desires to participate in whatever adventures lay outside the forest.

When Susie first entered BSBCC, she was filled with trauma and fear. Despite her painful early years, she has blossomed into a happy bear and acclimatize herself to new surroundings.

When Susie first entered BSBCC, she was filled with trauma and fear. Despite her painful early years, she has blossomed into a happy bear and acclimatize herself to new surroundings.

When Susie first entered BSBCC, she was filled with trauma and fear. Despite her painful early years, she has blossomed into a happy bear and acclimatize herself to new surroundings.

Montom and Susie spent most of thier time wandering about new forest, digging up termites and grubs and foraging, just like they would have in the wild.

Montom and Susie spent most of thier time wandering about new forest, digging up termites and grubs and foraging, just like they would have in the wild.

Montom and Susie spent most of thier time wandering about new forest, digging up termites and grubs and foraging, just like they would have in the wild.

Susie enjoys the freedom to live and explore the forest with companions.

For now they are sharing the forest enclosure with a three years old female adult sun bear, Damai.

Thankfully Montom and Susie are growing stronger and are progressing well. Their natural ability gives hope to our team that in the future they will learn all the skills they need to return to their natural habitat. From being rescued to their time in quarantine to forming relationships with other bears to stepping out into the forest enclosure, giving Montom and Susie a new journey in life. Sun bear rehabilitation is a long process. It changes many sun bears’ lives. Thank you for supporting our work to help Montom, Susie and many orphaned sun bears. Let’s make second chances for them to be free sun bears in the wild.

Tan-Tan’s Enthusiastic and Playful Nature in the Forest

Text and Photos by Chiew Lin May

                                 Tan-Tan making her way through the forest

During the walk in forest, Tan-Tan interacts with the natural environment by experiencing different sights, smells and sounds. She also comes into contact with a variety of trees, plants and animals. As the youngest sun bear cub at the Centre, she is quite a character with a strong sense of humor.

Soon Tan-Tan is going to be 5 months old, she is growing fast!

She is small but she is an incredibly great climber. She really is an arboreal little bear. Tan-Tan loves to climb. There is no limit to how high she will climb. She is skilled at climbing high in the canopy, eating wild food and taking a nap on trees. Tan-Tan has used a large amount of effort in search of invertebrate food items to meet her energy requirements.

Tan-Tan immediately explore her new home by climbing the trees

 

Tan-Tan climbs her FIRST tree!

Tan-Tan was given the chance to experience one of life’s simple pleasures

This is what pure joy looks like!!

A young and active bear full of enthusiasm

 

Truly amazing – she is well adapt for arboreal living and is excellent climber that                                                               love spending time in trees.

She likes to spend much of her time top of the tree canopy

She tends to climb high to find her preferred foods

Finally learning what is means to be free in forest

Midday nap…

A quick snooze after tired of foraging

Tan-Tan surprised us and broke the record that at only 4 months old she was able to build her first tree nest at 8 meters off the ground! The nest is built entirely from green leaves and branches, but it is not completely done. We observed that she tried to test and sit on the comfortable nest. She took a nap and laid back in her newly built nest. It was great to see that Tan-Tan still has the instinct to build a nest. She will surely develop the nest-building skill.

Being the youngest bear at the Centre, she shows a great skills at climbing                                                               tree and nest building !

Sun bears are omnivorous and she will eat anything edible that she can find in the forest. Beetles, termites and other forest insects are some of the sun bears’ favorite food sources. A sun bear’s sense of smell is tremendous, and because of this it enables Tan-Tan to locate where the insects are! Tan-Tan eats insects and uses her powerful small claws to break into decayed woods to get easy access to them. She has a long, narrow tongue which is perfectly suited for getting at honey and insects inside trees.

She loves digging decayed wood keep her busy all the time

She is digging for termites and sniffing out bees nests

Tan-Tan spend every walking moment digging, puliing, tearing at everything –                                                           just like a wild bear

She stick her long tongue out after wake up from a long nap

One special thing we observed from Tan-Tan during a forest walk was when she was digging soil from the trees, she vocalized by making a suckle sound. Sun bear cubs will suckle to seek comfort. If Tan-Tan’s mother was around, she would nurse Tan-Tan. Tan-Tan probably thought her mother was inside the tree hollow or den. We will never know exactly what happened, but we do know her mother would have been unlikely to abandon her cub so easily. Mothers teach their cubs everything they need to know in the forest including what foods they can eat, how to avoid predators, resting in the same tree, travelling with her and how to build a sleeping nest. All are must needed skills for Tan-Tan to survive in the wild.

Female sun bears den in the hollowed tree trunk or cavities of huge trees in the forest when they give birth and nurse their baby

Sleepy face….

Tan-Tan is happy, healthy and enjoys her free life at BSBCC. It is good that Tan-Tan still has her natural instinct behavior which we can all learn from her. As Tan-Tan becomes a skilled climber, nest builder and forager, we hope she will be a likely candidate to release into the wild. She deserves better, we need to do all we can to help her thrive!

Tan-Tan, enjoying the true forest!!

Sun Bear Cub Kala Deserves a Chance

Text and Photos by Chiew Lin May

Kala is an 8 month old female sun bear cub who was rescued by the Sabah Wildlife Department on January 2015. At the time of her rescue, Kala showed signs of being emaciated, dehydrated and malnourished.

Thanks to the Sabah Wildlife Department, Kala was saved and brought to a new home at BSBCC. Six months later, she has progressed well and developed new skills during her rehabilitation.  Kala’s appetite has come roaring back as well. Her balanced diet consists of a combination of dog milk replacer, fruits, vegetables and porridge. She now weighs 15.95 kg. She is growing bigger and stronger. Kala has a full set of adult teeth. “Sun bear cubs have a period where they grow very fast, typically when they are 5 to 10 months where they can gain 3 to 4 kg each month” –  Wong Siew Te

Chart below shows the growth curve of Kala cub (Updated 17th July 2015). Showing she is healthy and keeps growing gracefully!

The sun bear cub will be offered different types of enrichment to stimulate and prepare her for life back in the wild. Inside Kala’s den, we provide enrichment such as Kong, Aussie Dog Ball, natural habitat enrichment (logs, dead wood, branches, dry leaves, fresh plant and etc.) and manipulation based treats. She’s making full use of the structural enrichments in the den. The big basket with the hammock is her favourite!

On February 26th, 2015 Kala caught her first glimpse of the world outside the forest. She has been exploring every patch of the forest and she is already picking out some favourite spots. Sun bears are opportunistic omnivores. Kala enjoys searching for termites, earthworms, beetle larvae and eating soil. Sun bear’s jaws provide a powerful bite and tear force. Kala will use her teeth to tear into trees to get insects beneath the bark. She is a pro at all speeds and directions of sun bear locomotion! She explores by herself and loves to run or roll about on the forest floor.

Sun bears are very adapt climbers, and cubs especially spend time climbing trees. She shows tremendous improvement in climbing skills, using her well-muscled little body with sharp claws that help her to grip trees during climbing. She can be cheeky when climbing trees. She will try to show us how great it is – a true home for her! Little Kala explores the tree canopy, and then finds a comfy liana or log to rest. Though all the challenges with skills, she keeps up her adventurous and playful behavior.

Here are the photos show Kala in different age and grow. Let look what Kala doing and spending at rainforest.

– 3 months old – (First arrival at BSBCC)

Kala, is the youngest female cub. She was bought by someone in Kalabakan-Sapulut road nearby Maliau Basin with the intention of saving the cub then to be surrended to the Sabah Wildlife Department’s Wildlife Rescue Unit.

Kala was emaciated, dehydrated and malnourished and requires round-the-clock care to help her recovery.

– 4 months old –

We began regularly taking Kala out for walks in the forest on February 26th, 2015.

Kala really loves the nature walks at forest!

 

– 5 months old –

She loves spend every moment digging, puliing, tearing at everything in her path

When Kala is tired from exploring the forest, she will usually find a favorite place to rest or sleep

She loves to foraging for wild food in the forest

She loves spend every moment digging, puliing, tearing at everything in her path

Kala’s left hind paw

– 6 months old –

Inquisitive nature!

Kala use her sharp canines for tearing trees to get at insects.

Kala use her sharp canines for tearing trees to get at insects.

When Kala is tired from exploring the forest, she will usually find a favorite place to rest or sleep

Grooming

Sunbath under the sun

She start learning how to climb trees!

Never hesitate to climb till top of the tree canopy!

Her bare soles and long sharp claws make her excellent tree climbers.

 

– 7 months old –

Kala’s hair grows short black and healthy, making her look very pretty indeed!

When Kala is tired from exploring the forest, she will usually find a favorite place to rest or sleep

She loves spend every moment digging, puliing, tearing at everything in her path

She loves spend every moment digging, puliing, tearing at everything in her path

She loves spend every moment digging, puliing, tearing at everything in her path

Cheeky by the day

More high trees to climb and a chance to behave like the wild bear that she is

Beautiful and adventurous Kala is developing well !

Kala also spends more time exploring the forest

When Kala is tired from exploring the forest, she will usually find a favorite place to rest or sleep

Showing her little long tongue

– 8 months old –

Alert with surrounding smell and sound!

More high trees to climb and a chance to behave like the wild bear that she is

She loves spend every moment digging, puliing, tearing at everything in her path

Kalar’s claw mark on the tree

More high trees to climb and a chance to behave like the wild bear that she is

More high trees to climb and a chance to behave like the wild bear that she is

More high trees to climb and a chance to behave like the wild bear that she is

She enjoys the soil that she gets at the forest

Search for termites time!

She loves spend every moment digging, puliing, tearing at everything in her path

She loves spend every moment digging, puliing, tearing at everything in her path

When Kala is tired from exploring the forest, she will usually find a favorite place to rest or sleep

Peek- a- boo!

When Kala is tired from exploring the forest, she will usually find a favorite place to rest or sleep

Kala definitely has a lot to learn to build her forest skills, confidence and independence.

As a sun bear cub Kala is learning the skills and strength she needs to survive in the wild. Her forest skills continue to improve. Sun bears are magnificent and beautiful creatures in their natural habitat but because of habitat destruction, pet trade and poaching they have been led to decline by at least 30 per cent in the last three decades, they need our help!  Please show your support and help the smallest bear species by adopting Kala and her friends! Your support enables us to care for these orphaned sun bears.

 

Orphaned Sun Bear Makes Triumphant Return To Wild

The Dodo, 26 May 2015

By Ameena Schelling

After five long years of rehabilitation, an orphaned sun bear who was rescued from the exotic pet trade has finally been returned to her forest home — a momentous step both for both her and sun bear conservation as a whole.

 

Facebook/Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center

The sun bear, Natalie, was surrendered to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center (BSBCC) in Malaysia five years ago when she was just a few months old. BSBCC suspects that Natalie’s mother was killed by poachers and the little cub was kept as a pet, an unfortunately common story due to the region’s thriving illegal wildlife trade.

 

Facebook/Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center

For the next five years, BSBCC raised the little cub as best it could, taking her on long walks through the neighboring forest to reacquaint her with her natural habitat and encouraging her to develop natural skills like foraging.

 

Facebook/Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center

“Natalie built up her survival skills, [and] independence and learned to behave like a wild sun bear,” BSBCC wrote on its blog. “Her improvement in her survival skills in the forest enclosure has been excellent. She became an exceptional climber and tree nest maker.”

Facebook/Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center

Fortunately, the years of hard work paid off. Natalie was deemed ready for release last week. After a quick vet check, and being outfitted with a microchip and tracking collar, she was flown by helicopter to the Tabin Wildlife Reserve.

Facebook/Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center

Pictures show the curious little bear peering through the bars of her cage, angling herself to try to get a look at her new surroundings.

Facebook/Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center

And finally, she was free. Workers lifted up the bars of her cage and stood back, and the lucky little bear slowly ambled out into her new home — and into freedom.

Facebook/Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center

“As soon as the door of her cage was opened, Natalie straight headed into the forest,” BSBCC wrote. “She explored everything, sniffed the air of Tabin and assessed her new environment before disappearing into the tall tree canopy of the forest.”

Facebook/Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center

While the release is momentous for Natalie, who now has a chance at living the life that was so cruelly taken from her as an infant, it’s also a significant victory for sun bear conservation efforts.

The small bears, who are already rare, are being viciously hunted for their gallbladders and other body parts used in traditional medicine, and mothers are frequently killed so their babies can be sold as pets.

Facebook/Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center

Natalie is BSBCC’s first release, and the success of her rehabilitation bodes well for the other bears in the group’s care — and in captivity around the world.

Facebook/Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center

“The emotions running through the forest while watching Natalie enjoying her newfound freedom are un-describable,” BSBCC wrote. “A heart-warming moment filled with tears of joy.

If you’d like to help support the other bears in BSBCC’s care, you can make a donation here.

 

 

 

 

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Sin Chew Daily ??????, 27th May 2015

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Asia Times ??????, 26th May 2015

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Berita Harian Mereka  ?????), 26th May 2015

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See Hua Daily News ?????) , 26th May 2015

Beruang madu Borneo kembali ke habitat asal selepas lima tahun jalani pemulihan

New Sabah Times, 26th May 2014

 

Rescued sun bear Natalie released to natural habitat

The Borneo Post, 26th May 2015

Text by Winnie Kasmir