Text and Photos by Ain Adlina
Hi! My name is Ain Adlina. I am studying in Animal Health and Production. How did I start my internship at BSCC? By randomly searching on the internet…I searched any centre that managed wild animals in Sabah because I don’t have any experience on wild animals. So this is my journey at BSBCC for 3 months with my course mates, Garnette, Husna and Maryam.
First time at this centre, there was an introduction about the centre, sun bears, rules at the bear house and what we were going to do here. This was given by the Centre Operation Executive, Thye Lim. The first week I worked in the kitchen, preparing food for bears with the help from Rica and Tom (volunteers) and the following week I started to clean cages in bear house 1 & 2. I imagined that I’d clean cages with smelly bear feces but actually it didn’t smell as bad as I’d imagined. We had a routine change every day, a few days were cleaning cages and some days were preparing food for the bears in the kitchen. These two routines were in the morning session, while in the evening we would make enrichment for the bears, either food based, a hammock or a wood bridge. Duty in the morning session was quite busy, especially when preparing food as you need to be punctual and efficient. After duty in the bear house was completed, it was feeding time for indoor and outdoor bears. I enjoyed the outdoor feeding, as we got to scatter food at each forest enclosure and saw the bears during outdoor feeding, especially when they ate coconut.
Apart from working in the bear house, we had to go to the platform to talk to visitors about the centre and the sun bears here. And THIS was the only thing I didn’t want to do because I’m bad at public speaking, my confidence level is zero. When I saw my name during the first and second trials at the platform, I was so nervous but eventually after two weeks duty at the platform, I got used to it and was excited when I had to go there. I overcame my nervousness and public speaking fear very well with the help of other staff here. As Thye Lim said, educating people is quite challenging and I accept that challenge. I met a lot of visitors that came from all over the world, shared thoughts and experiences with them, especially about this centre and the rescued sun bears here.
Not only that, I had the chance to go for the outreach programme at SK Sungai Padas with Gloria, Ina, Reckly and Daniela as well as with HUTAN- Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Programme (KOCP). Here we educated people about sun bears and other wild animals to increase their awareness. BSBCC receives volunteers from across the world and I had the opportunity to work with volunteers from Sweden which were Julia and Kim, Simon from Belgium, Tom and Rica from UK, Kate from England as well as a group from PERHILITAN Peninsular Malaysia. I also had the opportunity to learn Swedish from Julia and Kim.
On the 16th of May 2015 I got to see the beginning process to the release of an adult female sun bear, Natalie, which was a health check before she was taken to Tabin Wildlife Reserve. BSBCC staff and veterinarian was there throughout the health check. And to see the vet doing their job, was inspiring and made me feel more excited to become a vet someday. The saddest part was the last goodbye to Natalie
During my internship here, I learnt a lot about punctuality, efficiency during working, building and improving my soft skills, confidence when talking to people and most important was to learn about sun bears which are currently endangered. Last but not least, special thanks to Mr.Wong, Thye Lim and Lin May for your approval for my internship here. Thanks for all your guidance and advice during my internship here and for helping in my mini project. Thank you to Thye Lim, Mizuno and David (the bear keepers), Nick who assisted and gave me guidance during my time at the bear house and to other BSBCC staff, thank you for your kindness and professionalism during my internship here. I have no regrets choosing this centre to complete the 3 months industrial training and I would love to come back again!