Dr Audrey Low interviews Lesley Small, ‘Senior Keeper, Carnivores’, at Sydney’s Taronga Park Zoo. Director, Editor – Howard Jackson.
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Leslie Small, is a very special animal keeper from Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia. She has been taking care of the two sun bears in the zoo for many years. Leslie contacted me about sun bear husbandry questions many years ago and we stay communicated regularly there after. Believe me or not, although years of communication, this is the first time that I see Leslie and hear her voice. However, this is all not important. What is important is Leslie has a special heart for sun bears, the species that she cares for all these years. She has help and tries hard to help us fund raising and help raise awareness about sun bears.
If you are a regular visitor of this wildlife direct blog, you can see Leslie is the one of the very few visitor who donates to our cause in a monthly basis.
Thank you Leslie! I hope I can meet you in person one day and give you many big hugs!
By Wai Pak Ng
Elis and I stayed one night at Kota Kinabalu. The next morning, Dr. Sen was checking on the pregnant bear before we put her into the translocation cage. The bear’s name is Manis, which mean “sweet” in Malay language. Her weight was 43.7 kg. She might give birth within this month.
After made sure Manis was in healthy condition, we placed her in the cage with leaves and twigs. Then we hit the road back to Sepilok. Manis did well in her 8 hours road trip to BSBCC at Sepilok especially when we drove passed the foothill of the Mount Kinabalu. Mt Kinabalu is the highest mountain in Southeast Asia with an elevation of 4095 m a.s.l. We all enjoyed the beautiful scene and the cold air that is so much different from the warm, humid lowland air. Like the day before, we stopped several times to let Manis drink and eat some fruits. Manis was very gentle to me and Elis even though we were new to her. She never barked or show any signs of stress and aggression at us.
We were arrived at BSBCC Sepilok about 6 pm. I hope Manis will like her new home and live happily in our centre. Now her new home has a birthing den with a 24 CCTV monitoring system to record her very movement. Finally, we also pray that Manis could give birth to a healthy bear cub successfully this time.
By Wai Pak Ng
On the 27th August, I received an emergency order to go to Kota Kinabalu with the Sepilok senior ranger, Elis, to exchange a bear from our centre with a pregnant bear named Manis from Lok Kawi Zoo. The pregnant bear has to be taken care in BSBCC with the proper birthing den and 24 hours CCTV recording. Because of the limited space we have at BSBCC, one bear from BSBCC has to exchange with the zoo for the female bear. We have chosen Gutuk, the oldest male bear in BSBCC.
Early in that morning, Dr Cecilia, Elis and I were checking on Gutuk health condition before we put him to the translocation cage. He was chosen because he cannot to be released to the forest due to his weak eyesight and old age.
The 8 hours long journey from Sandakan to Kota Kinabalu went well. We have to stop several times to check on Gutuk’s condition, fed and watered him. Luckily, it was not a sunny day; in fact it rained in the afternoon. Gutuk looked fine, but for sure it must be tiring for him and both of us as well.
We arrived Lok Kawi around 6.30 pm. Dr. Sen and his staffs were there welcoming Gutuk. Together we put Gutuk into the quarantine area. Gutuk was climbing up and try to get used to the new environment.
We hope Gutuk will enjoy his stay at Lok Kawi. Perhaps, we might get him back one day when our new centre is finished constructed.