BSBCC was involved in an education outreach programme at SMK Sukau, Kinabatangan today. The programme organized by HUTAN-KOCP, an NGO based in the Sukau village aimed to raise awareness on the protection of our environment and surrounding wildlife. Several activities were conducted including talks, exhibitions, environmental games and a "wildlife dance" to conclude the programme. The Sabah Wildlife Department was also invited to present a talk about protected species in the state. Students of SMK Sukau resides in areas adjacent to the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. We hope that reaching these young generations could lead them towards further protecting our environment today and in the future,
HUTAN-KOCP team during the ice breaking session
Learning about teamwork during environmental games session
Students at the BSBCC booth
Representatives from the Sabah Wildlife Department
A dance that reminds us of the existing wildlife around us
The Malayan Sun Bear Awareness Week at Melaka Zoo has started today and BSBCC is glad to be part of the event. Dr. Wong presented a talk and BSBCC booth was set up to share information with the public about sun bear conservation in Malaysia. Also present as exhibitors were APE Malaysia and Malaysia Nature Society that are currently working on the protection of sun bears in Malaysia. A representative from the Department of Wildlife and National Park Peninsular Malaysia was also present to support the event. The awareness programme will continue until the 4th June 2017. Come and visit Melaka Zoo and learn about sun bears!
Harith from APE Malaysia, explaining about enrichments
BSBCC recently received a mail from Alyona Philippova, organizer of Happy Bear eco charity project, Russia sharing their experience in raising awareness on bears through exhibition of arts. A drawing of one of our sun bears Wan Wan by 15 year old Marina Ignatko from Ukraine was also presented in a card, wishing the best for Wan Wan. We are glad to be in touch with the organization and look forward to work with them further in future!
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is listed Sun bear as Vulnerable status. Deforestation, poaching issue, pet trade are still happening out there and all this can eventually lead sun bear to extinction.
There is always hope! So, Please save the Sun Bear before it is too late!!
Text by Charina Pria Photos by Sumira Muis, Chiew Lin May & Seng Yen Wah
Do you ever feel like getting an ice cream when the weather is scorching hot outside? Or continuously shake your legs or walk up and down when you’ve got nothing to do?
Here at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC), where the weather sometimes hits a summery 31°C, we take in extra care to treat our sun bears with our very own version of ice cream called, “Ice Blocks”, which are various fruits in a block of frozen honey-water, then on other days, we trek into the jungle in search of bamboos, sticks, dead logs, termite mounds or anything that is plausible to be creatively created as a “toy” for the sun bears to stimulate naturalistic behavior. This is important because a sun bear in captivity will tend to pace, and what we call this a stereotypic behavior – A behavior that is equivalent to a human’s shaking of legs or walking up and down for a long period of time, hence why these “toys” are an important management tool in ensuring that these bears are stimulated physiological and psychologically.
These “toys”, also known as Enrichment, serves more than just a cure for boredom, but with careful and a thoughtful goal-oriented plan, these enrichment tools can serve a higher purpose in stimulating a sun bear’s cognitive, sensory, locomotion, and social skills and so much more! Since most of the sun bears – young and old – at the centre are rescued from illegal pet trade, these enrichment tools are very crucial to encourage their naturalistic behavior such a wild sun bear would be and have. From using their claws to dig out, their exceptionally long tongue to retrieve honey or fruits, their keen sense of smell and even to their skillful tree-climbing bustle. Here’s a look at some of the enriching toys we give to our sun bears!
Sika, Kina and Gutuk are playing with Aussie Dog Ball, an enrichment tool designed to encourage the usage of their claws, their tongue and overall to stimulate their cognitive skills in order to retrieve the fruits that are being trapped inside, replicating a like-fruit that may be found in the dense rainforest.
Bermuda and Ronnie are using their long tongue to retrieve the honey out of the drilled log. An environment-based enrichment tool designed to peak a bear’s sense of smell, foraging skills and the usage of their long tongue!
Sika, Noah, Panda and Chin are lounging their lazy days on the hammock, made out of used fire hoses, a type of physical/habituation enrichment to encourage the bears to rest up high above the grounds as how a wild sun bear would rest in the canopies of the rainforest!
Fun fact: Did you know that sun bears can also build nests way up high on the trees just as how an Orang Utan would?
Nano, Dodop and Noah enthusiastically clawing their way into the natural treasures (aka termites!) hidden within the log. This type of natural enrichment promotes the usage of their claws, their sense of smell, and their foraging skills too!
Fun fact: When wild sun bears feast upon termites in the rain forest, this ensures the population level of termites to be controlled, thus ensuring a healthy ecosystem of trees from being completely devoured! Thank you sun bears!
A type of enrichment tool to prompt locomotor activity among the sun bears so that the bears can happily climb, climb and climb!
And many more! We thank our keepers and volunteers for the endless commitment for their hard work in creating existing and even new enrichment ideas for the sun bears!
We always strive to maintain and ensure that the sun bears in our centre are well care not only through their diet but an overall welfare and rehabilitation through encouragement with these enrichment tools that is crucial to strengthen the foundation of sun bear skills and hopefully, this progress will eventually lead up to their release back into the wild, where they truly belong.
Today, we were visited by a group of students from National University of Singapore. They were accompanied by their teacher, together with APE Malaysia coordinators. The students were given a short presentation on sun bears and BSBCC works before they had a tour at the observation platforms. At the platform, they were given a simple task where they need to observe the bear behaviours within a period time. They were really lucky today as it was raining heavily and they were able to observe many bears being active and playful in the rain! Thank you for spending the time for visiting us and we hope that they learn more about sun bears and its environment, and help us spread the words!
Today we celebrate our first Sun Bear Day 2017 and on the same time celebrating Dr. Wong Siew Te’s birthday. The objective of this event is to raise awareness on the smallest bear in the world , the sun bear. We invited students of Nature Club from four different schools in Sandakan district to participate in this event. Some activities were held such as Bear Observation, Canvas Painting, Free Airbrush Tattoo and we also set up a photo booth for public. Everyone enjoyed during this celebration, hopefully more participation will be involved in the future. Thank you for all the supports and HAPPY BIRTHDAY Dr. Wong !
A school visit from SK Karamunting Preschool, Sandakan visited BSBCC today, 11th May 2017.There were 56 students and 16 teachers and parents involved in this visit. The school children came together with their teachers and parents. They were given a short introduction on sun bears using sun bear mascot and later they were brought to the observation platforms to see the bears roaming in the forest enclosure. The children together with their parents and teachers enjoyed their time at our Centre learning about sun bears and the environment. We were glad to share our knowledge on sun bears to them. We believe that environmental education can help in the efforts to save sun bears and their habitat for generations to come.