Tag Archives: enrichment

Volunteering – Open Arms of BSBCC

By Amanda Shia, BSBCC volunteer: Feb 18-March 31, 2013

April 9, 2013

One of the question laid in my volunteer’s application form was, “What do you expect to learn by the end of the program?”

That was two months ago. Frankly speaking, I knew nothing of managing, ecology or morphology of neither sun bears nor anything about them except for a general fact they are the smallest species of bears in the world. I went on volunteering for experience, for knowledge, to simply drop that barricade bricks of limited knowledge and take in information in, to discover more through volunteering under 6 weeks.

Welcomed by Gloria and Dawn on the first day! To be introduced to Thye Lim that gave induction on routines in the bear house and safety procedures to follow. In the bear house, formally introduced to David, Beyri, Lin May, Julian, Tommy and Azzry. Everything and everyone was new to me, and astonishing to know out of all the volunteers, I was the second volunteer from Sandakan to be volunteering there.

Daily tasks that revolve around the sun bears are food preparation, cleaning cages, feeding and making enrichments. With routines, practice to be efficient in those tasks gets easier. Trust me when I say that cleaning the cages were not difficult. It was built equipped with water basin and a basket for the bears to sleep. With their diet that consists dominantly by fruits, their faeces are not that smelly, amusingly the faeces are colour-coordinated sometimes.

It was a privilege, to be in very close proximity with the fluffies and cuties. It was a great opportunity to know more about the sun bears more than books can offer from the staffs. Throughout the period I was lucky to observed and be there for ‘little miracles’. The moment when Rungus stepped outside of fenced forest enclosure in Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) for the first time, followed by her group mate Natalie, Julaini and Ah Lun. Integration between Bongkud with other sun bears such as Rungus, Natalie and Julaini as well as Fulung. The youngest sun bear, 8 month-old Damai climbing tall trees and got used to sleeping on trees. These little ephemeral joys are so important for the sun bears as well as the centre, because  these are phases that prepare them and nurture their natural skills to survive in the wild by climbing trees, foraging and digging into soil and logs;  a chance for each of them to ‘be a sun bear’.

It was challenging and entertaining making enrichments for the bears. It was challenging by training up muscles I never thought I have by carrying heavy stuffs, unbolting and bolting, carrying bamboos, walking up a long distance around the forest enclosures and so on. It was one of those days I can proudly said “Yes people, I cut tyres.” The staffs and we volunteers made so many enrichments ranging from 2 different swinging tyres, 2 hammocks, swinging log, bamboos stuffed with fruits, a big water basin and more. The entertaining part was where sun bears played with them. It was enjoyable; having Fulung do a Cirque du Soleil stunt while swinging on the rope of the tyre swing. Mamatai is one of our favourite sun bears in the centre. With her cute stumpy figure, she tried to climb on the swinging log and to rest there is just pure adorable, even hopped inside the tyre swing!

 

Volunteers Ann and Amanda bolting the hammock swing.

Volunteers Ann and Amanda bolting the hammock swing.

Dawn and Ann also tried to make another hammock for the bears.

Dawn and Ann also tried to make another hammock for the bears.


Tommy and volunteer Jeo Soon had to replace blunted saw blade 3 times to be able to cut the tyre into half!

Tommy and volunteer Jeo Soon had to replace blunted saw blade 3 times to be able to cut the tyre into half!

Tommy and volunteer Jeo Soon had to replace blunted saw blade 3 times to be able to cut the tyre into half!

I had the fair share of cutting tyre too, with Louise (right).

I had the fair share of cutting tyre too, with Louise (right).

I had the fair share of cutting tyre too, with Louise (right).

A stumpy figure of Mamatai. That won’t stop Mamatai from climbing high swinging tyre! – Photo courtesy of BSBCC

A stumpy figure of Mamatai. That won’t stop Mamatai from climbing high swinging tyre! – Photo courtesy of BSBCC

Fellow volunteers at BSBCC: (left to right) Ann, Thomas, Amanda, Louise, and me :)

Fellow volunteers at BSBCC: (left to right) Steve, Ann, Thomas, Amanda, Louise, and me 🙂

Have a photo together with the other volunteers on my last day – Jeo Soon, me, Amanda and Thomas.

Have a photo together with the other volunteers on my last day – Jeo Soon, me, Amanda and Thomas.

Have a photo together with the other volunteers on my last day – Jeo Soon, me, Amanda and Thomas.

It was a blessing, to meet incredible staffs. Right from Wong, to staffs Gloria, Wai Pak, Dawn, Thye Lim, Lin May, bear keepers David and Beyri, general workers Julian, Azzry and Tommy as well as volunteers who walked in to help the centre. They have been the backbone of the centre; taking responsibilities to care the welfare for the bears, and they have been a great help in guiding me throughout the volunteering period. They made volunteering so much enjoyable rather than a burden. They are dedicated staffs, as well as lovely friends.

It was like a mini travel pocket, getting to know volunteers who came from around the world in one similar aim like mine. Both Steve (UK) and Ann (Belgium) carried young spirits, never dimmed or hesitated in getting their hands down and dirty making hammocks and swinging logs. Amanda Pauli (US) and Thomas (UK) are wonderful people who dedicated their career helping out children, utilising their break by volunteering around.  Lee Jeo Soon (Korea), a to-be vet doctor; does not mind breaking a sweat making enrichments under the hot scorching sun. Louise, a great company to be for everyone and surprisingly enjoyed cutting tyres the most. I had fun with everyone; get to know them more from their respected countries.

Figure 2 from Top (Clockwise): Dawn, Amanda Pauli, Thomas, Louise, Lin May, Thye Lim, Wong, Jeo Soon, Me and Gloria. – Photo Courtesy of BSBCC.

Figure 2 from Top (Clockwise): Dawn, Amanda Pauli, Thomas, Louise, Lin May, Thye Lim, Wong, Jeo Soon, Me and Gloria. – Photo Courtesy of BSBCC.

Figure 2 from Top (Clockwise): Dawn, Amanda Pauli, Thomas, Louise, Lin May, Thye Lim, Wong, Jeo Soon, Me and Gloria. – Photo Courtesy of BSBCC.

The last day:Everyone! Except Wong who left for Singapore and Thye Lim (the photographer)

The last day:Everyone! Except Wong who left for Singapore and Thye Lim (the photographer)

The last day:Everyone! Except Wong who left for Singapore and Thye Lim (the photographer)

 

Until the very last day, I left the centre knowing so much and learnt a lot about how conservation works and needs more work and awareness to come by before opening for public to visit. It is kind of sad to miss out more of the sun bears’ development like Damai and progress of stepping out into the enclosure for the first time, as well as being steps away from being candidates for release. These achievements I will miss, but I will come back to visit to catch up soon.

These respected staffs are dedicated to their work to bring this developed centre a safe haven for the rescued sun bears. Not only for saving their population an endangered species, but a second chance to live. They top that off with tasks creating a global awareness of the little known bears. What they do need aside from funds and donations are the local volunteers. At first I thought it was a privilege and unique to be one of the first locals to volunteer. Now that I think about it, local people should take part by volunteering to not only aware the existence of this species in our beautiful Borneo land, but to acknowledge them, protect them by being against poaching or body parts trade, and be in any way of help to tell, share, spread word. By being hands on and practical to conserve at the centre, locals will be more impacted and realize that one man’s action could do so much to help.

 

New playground at BSBCC future enclosure!

Text by Gloria Ganang and photo by Tee Thye Lim

The BSBCC is on its way to construct its second bear house that will be able to occupy 16 bears. This new bear house will be surrounded by a 1.21 ha forest enclosure. However, some parts of the forest enclosure are swampy and have no trees for the bears to climb. How do we make use of the space? With the help of ideas from Arkitrek and hard work by the Raleigh International volunteers, our future enclosure is now equipped with a playground for the bears.

Check out these pictures!

Hanging bridge made out of reclaimed wood materials and fire hose

Making use of old tyres to walk on muddy ground

Now everyone can climb!

Perfect spot for sunbathing!

The Raleigh volunteer group who finalized the structures. You guys are awesome!

AMAZING!

The Raleigh International volunteers came from all over the world and gathered at this tropical island of Borneo to work on projects as this one. They worked with heavy tools and materials, tolerated with unpredictable weather, had countless leach bites under their socks and went back to their camp site muddy and tired everyday. However, they have done it for a good cause, which is to provided the bears with additional activities  in the enclosure. These structures can be utilized in many ways to enrich the bears. We are sure that any bear would instantly check out the structures as soon as they find it. Perhaps the roaming orang utan and macaques will do as well..or any of the BSBCC staff!

Million thanks from the BSBCC team to the volunteers! We hope you enjoyed working with us!

We would also like to thank Ian Hall, founder of Arkitrek who made this project possible. Not forgetting Arkitrek intern, Adam Brown for your dedication to guide the volunteers all the way until the end of this project.

Bear hugs to everybody!

Anglo Chinese School Independent (ACSI) students visit to BSBCC

Text by Gloria Ganang and photos by Thye Lim and Ade Kurniawan

Yesterday was another meaningful day at the BSBCC. We had an educatonal visit from a group of teens from the Anglo Chinese School Independent (ACSI), Singapore. They consist of 23 students of the age 17-18 years old, accompanied by 2 teachers. The visit was organized by the Animal Project & Environmental Education (APE) Malaysia to give the students an experience about animal conservation. The teens get to involve in hands on activities of the sun bear rehabilitation process which consists of doing pre enrichment and post enrichment behavioral observation on the sun bears at the centre.

Students observing bear behavior from the observation platform

Observing bears at the bear house

They also get the chance to do enrichment for the bears in between their observation sessions. The enrichment materials were provided and the students created the enrichment using their imagination of what would be is suitable for sun bears. This is to build awareness among students about the importance of stimulating animal natural behavior through enrichment.

Preparing enrichment for the bears

Bear enrichment!

Bear enrichment!

Bear enrichment!

Bears playing with the enrichment made by the students.

Before they left the centre, our Project Manager, Wai Pak explained to the students about the bears reaction towards the enrichments they made. They were also told about the bears in the centre going through rehabilitation process and the threats of sun bears as well.

Wai Pak explaining about sun bear threats

ACSI students with APE Malaysia and BSBCC staff

Lastly, we would like to express our many thanks to the APE Malaysia team for organizing such beneficial activity for the centre especially in terms of education. Thanks to the ACSI students as well for spending time with us learning about sun bear rehabilitation!

Best wishes from BSBCC team!

EERace @ BSBCC

Text by Gloria Ganang and photo by Dawn Tukalan & Thye Lim

The day at BSBCC on the 4th of July started with a big preparation for the Environmental Education Race (EERace) activity at the centre. The EERace is an environmental education programme held annually in the heart of Borneo districts of Sabah. It is organized by the Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC) under the Sabah Forestry Department, together with many government and private organizations. The aim of the race is to enhance and deepen teacher’s knowledge and experiences on the environment.

A team of 4 participants and 3 facilitators reached the centre at 9.30 am with no idea of what was planned for them. The first activity was the “Bear Acting” activity where the participants was placed in cages as displayed animals. The BSBCC staff and facilitators acted as visitors. They were camera flashes and food thrown from outside the cages. The participants were also ignored for a few minutes, when everyone stepped away from the cages. The purpose of this activity is to allow the participants to experience what it feels like to be badly treated by people who visits displayed animals. Later, the participants shared their experience to everyone. They felt awful and threatened of the “visitor’s” way of treating them. This unique experience encourages participants to understand the importance of  prioritizing animal feelings and welfare.

EERace participant inside the cage

BSBCC staff and facilitators throwing candy from outside the cages

Participant relaxing inside tyre enrichment.

Participants sharing their "displayed animals" experience

The next activity was preparing “toys” or enrichment for the bears. The participants were given various materials such as cardboard, ginger leaves, ropes, honey, peanut butter and many kinds of spices. They were encouraged to use their creativity to construct “toys” for the bears. They produced great enrichment and the bears loved it!

Inventing toys for the bears

Toys ready to be ripped off by the bears

Mamatai (adult female) enjoying one of the toys made by EERace participant

The participants took a brief 30 minutes break before they continued with the tour around the centre. This focuses more on sun bear ecology and the aims of BSBCC as a conservation and rehabilitation centre for sun bears in Sabah. Since the sun bear is known as the “least known” species among the bears in the world, describing the sun bear facts to the participants are fresh and fascinating. The activity ended with participants detecting sun bear claw marks on the trees along the boardwalk. We hope the participants enjoyed their half day activities at BSBCC. Looking forward for more exciting activities on next year’s EERace!

Participant found claw mark on a tree along boards walk

Wai Pak showing methods to estimate age of sun bear through claw marks on trees

BSBCC staff with EErace participants and facilitator

The enrichment workshop at BSBCC

Text by Anna Wade

Photo: Siew Te Wong

 

Here at the centre, enrichment is a key focus and it is important that all of the staff and volunteers have a complete understanding of what providing enrichment entails. Over a 3 day period, BSBCC project manager’s Wai Pak dedicated his time to helping the team to understand the importance of enrichment for all captive animals as well as the importance of meeting the animals daily needs. In attendance were the 3 office staff, Gloria, Thye Lim and Dawn, 2 of the keepers, Daniel and Beyri, the 3 current bear volunteers, Anna, Miriam and Leanne and the volunteers on the travellers program… so it was quite a full room!

 Wai Pak broke the talks into 3 categories; the 1st talk was on animal welfare, the 2nd was on enrichment and the 3rd was on types of enrichment, and also gave examples of when enrichment can go wrong. Everyone was encouraged to engage in the talk by asking questions and there was some very good points raised, especially in regards to what is best for our bears at the centre. Overall the response from everyone involved was very positive. As many of the enrichment ideas have already proven to be successful with the bears, it encouraged us to think more outside the box. Hopefully everyone will take what they learnt away with them and use it to positively improve the lives of the bears and any captive animals they encounter in the future. Thanks Wai Pak!!

The Bears Thank You

Enrichment toys are vital for a recovering sun bear’s health. Photo courtesy of BSBCC

Several months ago, we put out a call via our Animal Care Wish List asking for donations to provide enrichment items for the sun bears housed with our new collaborative partner, the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC). You responded generously, and I am pleased to say we were able to send six new toys to the bears at the BSBCC. Thank you so much for your generosity!

The sun bear is a rare bear whose habitat is dwindling rapidly under pressure from deforestation. Primary causes of forest loss include illegal timber extraction and the development of palm oil plantations. Very few studies of wild sun bears have been conducted, and a population census of this species, or the Bornean subspecies, has never been conducted. However, their numbers must surely be on the decline as their habitat steadily shrinks.

One of my objectives is to find more opportunities to conduct research with sun bears, to learn more about them and facilitate conservation of this species. We have had the opportunity to observe the growth and development of four sun bear cubs born to our resident female, Marcella, but a larger sample size of animals was needed to conduct any statistically meaningful research into various aspects of their biology. Enter the BSBCC.

Siew Te Wong founded the BSBCC in Sabah, Borneo, to serve as a rescue and rehabilitation facility for orphaned and injured sun bears. “Wong,” as he is called, had conducted field work on these animals but recognized the need to provide care for bears impacted by forest loss and the illegal pet trade. In only 4 years of operation, the BSBCC has accumulated more than 20 sun bears. Some are destined for Wong’s developing reintroduction program, which will see them repatriated to the wild in time. Others are not good candidates for release and will likely live out their years at the BSBCC.

Thankfully, the BSBCC goes the extra mile to ensure a good home for its sun bears. It has several large outdoor pens that are essentially areas of enclosed natural habitat: giant trees, heavy canopy, soft forest soil, and a multitude of plants and bugs for the bears to enjoy. The enclosures are so natural that wild monkeys and birds often cruise in and perch in the canopy of their trees. The bears are carefully managed so that agreeable animals can be housed together as playmates when possible. Even so, there are so many of these animals that on any given day a few of the bears will be rotated inside so others can enjoy the outside spaces.

The BSBCC likes to provide enrichment for their indoor animals to ensure that their environment remains as stimulating as possible. And that’s where you come in. Your donations helped to aid in maintaining a quality of life for these bears that ensures their physical and emotional well-being. The photos here demonstrate that the bears are enjoying the toys immensely!

We are excited about developing our partnership with the BSBCC into a research opportunity. This will aid in the conservation of the smallest bear on Earth and could lend insight into the bear family tree. We know from our past work, for example, that sun bear mothers and panda mothers are very similar in their attentive maternal-care styles, and both pandas and sun bears differ from the less active hibernating bears like brown and black bears. What other similarities and differences between the bear species will we find?

Your gifts of enrichment were the first step in what I hope will be a long and informative road that leads to new discoveries about sun bears. Thank you again.

Suzanne Hall is a senior research technician for the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. Read her previous post, Monday: Black, White, and the Blues.

Today at BSBCC: The future of sun bear relies on EDUCATION!.

Feb 21, 2012
 
Text and photos by Siew Te Wong
 
Today 40 junior high school students from Singapore International School visited BSBCC. These visitors were led by APE Malaysia (Animal Project and Environment Education) http://www.apemalaysia.com/index.php
 

 These students came from more than 10 different countries across the world. We separated the students into two groups of 20 students to ease management and logistics on the ground. Today’s program begun with an hour long lecture about sun bears and their conservation stories given by me, followed by doing an observation on our few of our sun bears who stayed in the bear house. The students were asked to record their behavior for 15 minutes. After that we talked about the idea of enrichment for these animals and asked the students to create their own enrichment items for the bears. They then record the bear’s behavior for another 15 minutes with the enrichment items that they created and compared the results pre-and post enrichment items given to the bears. The idea behind this simple, yet meaningful exercise was to let the students know the important of enrichments for captive animals. In addition, the students also got to witness how smart sun bears were when they played and figured out ways to get into the rewards- honey, fruit jams, nuts, and even canned sardines.I see hope. The future of the sun bear relies on EDUCATION!

Needless to say, these kids learned a lot about sun bears and have few hours of up-close-and personal experience with the sun bears. Now they know the conservation issues faced by the sun bears fighting for their survival. They also got to witness how special and unique sun bears are. Everyone just fall in love with the bears.
At the end of the morning session, one girl came to me, “Can I stay here all day?”
I paused, smiled and did not know how to reply her.
The same exercise repeated again for the other 20 students group. At the end of the day, everyone was tired (at lease I was, after giving the second hour long lecture). The students were very kind to deliver a donation to BSBCC before they boarded into the bus. Thank you kiddo!

 

Morning lecture on sun bear ecology on conservation.

Morning lecture on sun bear ecology on conservation.

Wai Pak brief the students on the rules;- do and don't, when they are in the bear house

Wai Pak brief the students on the rules;- do and don't, when they are in the bear house

 

The students wanted to try the feeling being lock up in cage, just like what the sun bear experienced, for 3 minutes..

The students wanted to try the feeling being lock up in cage, just like what the sun bear experienced, for 3 minutes..

Katie from APE gave a briefing on ideas behind enrichment for captive animals

Katie from APE gave a briefing on ideas behind enrichment for captive animals

The kiddos started to pick the materials for making enrichments for the bears.

The kiddos started to pick the materials for making enrichments for the bears.

some 20 minutes later, their first enrichment toy for sun bear is completed!

some 20 minutes later, their first enrichment toy for sun bear is completed!

They are sure very proud of their toy!

They are sure very proud of their toy!

Another presentation on sun bear took part in the afternoon in our AV room.

Another presentation on sun bear took part in the afternoon in our AV room.

The young audiences try their best to stay alert throughout the presentation despite the comfort of the air-conditional room and the soft couch.

The young audiences try their best to stay alert throughout the presentation despite the comfort of the air-conditional room and the soft couch.

The kids are doing observation on the bears' behavior

The kids are doing observation on the bears' behavior

A fruitful, happy but tired day for all of us!

A fruitful, happy but tired day for all of us!

The REAL International School and the participants give a donation to BSBCC. Thank you!

The School and the participants give a donation to BSBCC. Thank you!

A volunteer’s story at BSBCC

By Marianne Sim

It was a great privilege to work as a volunteer for the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) at Sepilok for four weeks (Feb/Mar 2011).  I was greeted on arrival at Sandakan airport by the forever smiling Wai Pak Ng, BSBCC Project Manager. 
 
My first day commenced with an induction by the Sun Bear keepers David and Daniel.  I was introduced to all 19 Sun Bears, safety procedures were explained and the keepers demonstrated how to perform the work required. I assisted David and Daniel by preparing food, cleaning pens and providing enrichment for the bears.  The keepers were a pleasure to work with and my enrichment ideas were welcomed.
 
As a volunteer you really get to know and recognise the bears individually.  They all have different pale orange-yellow markings on their chest and all have their own personality.  The youngest bear is around 6 months old and the oldest bear around 16 years old. 

I was very impressed with the design of the new bear house.  It has a lot of natural light, is well ventilated, easy to clean, and has a well designed feeding/watering system. The outdoor enclosure is a large primary forest area with many tall trees.  This allows the bears to exhibit natural bear behaviour e.g. climbing trees, digging, breaking apart rotten logs searching for insects.

The Sun Bear is a ‘vulnerable’ species and could become endangered unless the circumstances threatening its survival improve.  Sun Bears are threatened by habitat destruction, conflict with humans, poaching for bear body parts and bear bile used in Chinese medicine and the pet trade.  The Sun Bears natural habitat has been destroyed as the land is taken over by palm oil plantations.  Palm oil is found in a variety of products on our supermarket shelves including margarine, chocolate, biscuits and soap to name a few.  It is important that we all take responsibility for the products we put in our supermarket trolleys and we keep the pressure on governments, manufacturers and supermarkets to improve product labelling so we can make informed choices about the products we purchase. There are many medicinal alternatives to using bear body parts and bear bile in Chinese medicine.  Please use these alternatives and end the bears suffering.  Sun Bears make very bad pets.  Although they appear cute as babies they have long claws, sharp teeth and are very strong.  They soon grow up, become difficult to control and end up depressed in confined cages.  Their home is the forest and they should never be kept as pets for human entertainment.
 
I particularly enjoyed observing the bears in their forest enclosure and during their enrichment activities.  The youngest bear Natalie, approximately 6 months old, is a joy to observe (http://sunbears.wildlifedirect.org/2011/01/16/update-of-natalie/).  Natalie has endless energy, is constantly playing and exhibits natural bear instincts.  Natalie has the right qualities to be released back into the wild but in order to do this funds are required to start the rehabilitation process.  Staff are required to care and monitor her until she can confidently display all the skills needed to survive in the forest on her own.  With your donation (http://www.leapspiral.org/content/support_leap.php) or merchandise purchase (http://www.zazzle.co.uk/gifts?ch=theborneansunbear) the BSBCC will be one step closer to this happening.  Funds are also required to build a Sun Bear visitors centre at Sepilok.  This will be an important educational facility and gives visitors the opportunity to learn about this charismatic bear species. 
 
While working as a volunteer I observed first hand the hard work, long hours and dedication of Siew Te Wong (CEO and Founder of BSBCC) and Wai Pak (BSBCC Project Manager).  They are great ambassadors for the Sun Bear.  They are men of integrity and are extremely committed to helping the Sun Bear.  I am 100% confident that any donation you make will be wisely utilised and benefit the Sun Bears greatly.
 
Thank you Wong and Wai Pak for an unforgettable volunteer experience.  I feel extremely privileged to have worked with such dedicated people and remarkable animals.  I will miss the people and the bears but look forward to coming back and seeing how the bears have developed and progressed to their final destination, their true home, THE FOREST.

Marianne Sim

United Kingdom

Natalie the sun bear cub and Wai Pak (left) encountered Marianne (right) and Paul (middle) who were woring on the enrichment in our old bear house.

Natalie the sun bear cub and Wai Pak (left) encountered Marianne (right) and Paul (middle) who were woring on the enrichment in our old bear house.

Jelita the sun bear climbing a tree in the forest enclosure at BSBCC

Jelita the sun bear climbing a tree in the forest enclosure at BSBCC

Lawa the sun bear peeking through the undergrowth vegetation in BSBCC.

Lawa the sun bear peeking through the undergrowth vegetation in BSBCC.

Update on Linggam the sun bear

http://bearingupinborneo.wordpress.com/2011/04/27/update-on-linggam/

By Paul Clenton

It has now been 2 weeks since the door leading from Linggam’s pen into the rainforest enclosure was first opened for him. What a transformation! To begin with he was cautious, timid even, when facing the challenge of going outside. Now when I see him he is relaxed, roaming freely around through the trees. A bear enjoying life in the type of place a bear should be.

linggam

Often when he is out, Linggam is very difficult to photograph, but here he very considerately came over to where I was, foraging for food.

It makes me quite emotional to see this; there is such a significant improvement in a relatively short time, even for an adult bear which has grown up in captivity. This is what rehabilitation is all about. There is a small but dedicated team here who are working incredibly hard to make things like this happen. The BSBCC is yet in desperate need of funding to make successful releases back into the wild happen, but I feel privileged to be here now as the project is starting to gain momentum and start to take these important steps.

Lastly, I’d like to add that just a few days ago, 3 female bears -Cerah, Jelita and Lawa- also began to take their first steps into the forest. There is a post about it here by Shauna Tay, a fellow volunteer at the BSBCC.

Linggam the sun bear continue to do well

By Paul Clenton

DINING OUT – April 15, 2011

http://bearingupinborneo.wordpress.com/2011/04/15/dining-out/

img_3063

I watched with a great big smile on my face today as my mate Linggam ate his breakfast “alfresco” for the first time. He not only spent much more time venturing out and exploring today (periods of 8,3,2,2,1,1,1,1 & 1 minute, respectively), but he also ventured further away from the security of the bear house, exploring hitherto unknown logs and bushes.

img_3064

Linggam exploring his surroundings.

I now wait for tomorrow with some excitement to see how far he will go next. His food will be a little further out tomorrow and if I have time beforehand I’ll make some kind of a puzzle feeder to keep him occupied outside. More on Linggam’s progress tomorrow.

===================================================================

http://bearingupinborneo.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/linggam-continues-to-do-well/

April 18, 2011

Linggam continues to do well

It was day 4 for Linggam today. He left the door to his pen with his body held higher than on previous days and appeared noticably less anxious. During his first few minutes out there were several occasions when there was a loud noise nearby, on previous days he would have darted back in upon hearing them, though today he only flinched a little before continuing on with his business.

As yesterday, his interest in the outside was very much correlated to the availability of food. Today however he spent a little more time outside. I observed him outside for durations of 7,5,2,4,2 & 1 minute respectively, over a period of 30 minutes… approximately 2/3 of the time.

img_3135

=================================

Linggam’s rehabilitation (day 6)

April 19, 2011

Linggam is continuing to do well. He was outside for >75% of the available time today. He appears very confident in the area near the bear house. The next stage will be to place his food further away, in the forested area. I can’t wait to see how he does tomorrow!

===============================================

April 20, 2011

Linggam pushes his boundaries & Rungus is lovely

IMG_1301-aa

I was monitoring Linggam today, his 7th day in the forest. Though he didn’t spend more time outside than he chose to yesterday, it was pleasing to see that he explored twice as far from his pen than he had done on previous days.

On another note, I checked on my dear Rungus in her pen today and found her swinging back and forth in her tyre swing. She is so adorable.

This afternoon I dd a session with the staff on the feeding habits of wild sun bears, based upon findings from Wong’s own fieldwork. Tomorrow I shall follow this up with a session on nutrition and the diet of captive sunbears.