On the 10th of August 2018, it was a beautiful morning, Romolina’s surrogate mother took her out to the forest to experience the sounds and smells of forest environment for the first time.
'The feel of grass underneath my small paws!'
She is very inquisitive and is always likes to sniff every corner of leaves.
She has been doing very well over the last two months
After she had lost her mother and spent much of her time living as an illegal house pet, Romolina was given a second chance of freedom. Upon arrival, Romolina’s bodyweight was appropriate and she showed signs of stunted growth, but these have never caused her to fail at learning to be a wild bear like the other rescued bear cubs did!
How she has grown! Today she weight 12.30 kg.
In the wild, Romolina’s mother would have taught her everything she needs to know to survive in the wild, but now she has to learn these skills by herself.
Is it the time came for Little Romolina to learn in the wild as a strong and confident bear
On the 18th of August 2018, we brought Romolina out to the forest together with her best peer, Logan. Every time their surrogate mother has taken them out to have a walk, Romolina and Logan have been ready to explore and made their way over to the deep forest.
For the first time ever in BSBCC that we walk two rescued sun bear cubs and teach them the skills needed to survive in the forest
They straight away started to venture, displaying wild bear behaviour!
Our favourite hang time!
Romolina loves to forage. She will stay in one area for a long time and becomes busy digging out all the termites, beetles and ants. The termites and ants better watch out for her! She will survey and explore the forest around her. She shows enthusiasm for her delicious food, while Logan will check on her and keep trying to distract Romolina from doing other things so that she can play with him.
Both have shown the ability to pick out natural food - termites, ants and beetles.
Romolina and Logan has always enjoyed their daily trips to the forest.
Romolina spends all of her time learning the skills she will need in the wild along with her friend
Romolina loves foraging for food
Romolina is licking out ants that traps on her body by using her long tongue.
Two cubs forage together
The forest ants and termites better watch out of Romolina!
Logan will check on her and keep want to distract Romolina from do other things so that she can play with him
It is playtime!
Sometimes, Romolina will avoid playing with Logan by climbing high up into the trees. She is an arboreal little bear!
Romolina will avoid Logan from play fight!
Sometimes she enjoys spending time with Logan in wrestling play!
Romolina has a favorite tree!
Up in the canopy, she will hang around and tear into the tree bark searching for tasty treats. She does not care about Logan’s appearance.
Getting as higher as she can! You have to really look to find her.
Romolina has become quite an expert in climbing
She immediately climb trees and start exploring her new home
Romolina and Logan showing their impressive climbing skills!
On their daily walk, Logan will initiate play wrestling, chasing, rolling and climbing trees with Romolina, just like loving friends do!
Romolina is everything a sun bear cub should be – inquisitive, arboreal, and playful.
These have been some of the BEST days of their lives - FUN!
The bears enjoy their taste of freedom.
Romolina becomes more nervous when it comes to crossing the stream. The first time she discovered the stream she was unsure what to do with it and sometimes she would step back from crossing it if the water level was too high for her compared to Logan who just loves to dip in the stream.
Little Romolina slowly learn enjoys soaking in the stream
Best way to dipping in the stream!
Streamside hangs and feel the breeze with Logan!
It is a delight to see how courageous they are.
Slowly she starts to learn forest skills that equipped her to survive in the wild.
They are developing into strong sun bears and are doing amazingly well in the forest!
Yay! Free to explore, digging and play!
Please provide them a better future and let the rescued bears live the life of freedom that was stolen by us.
The best enrichment for the bear cub is another bear. Romolina and Logan spend more time learning how to be in a beautiful friendship, and to be happy, agile sun bears after all that they have been through in the past.
Little Logan breaks the termite mounds with its sharp claws to expose hundreds of yummy termites then uses its superb long tongue to lick up the termites inside. He acts as "Forest Doctor" to treat the health of forest!
Logan is the youngest male cub (estimated eight months old) that we have here at BSBCC. He was found, abandoned near Lokan River, Kulu-Kulu Village in Sabah. He was surrendered to the Sabah Wildlife Department and sent to BSBCC on the 19th of May, 2018. Once Logan was found, it was evident he was missing his left thumb which left his front paw disformed. On the 7th of June, 2018 Logan first ventured out into the forest. He is so excited and alert with the surroundings. He is following behind his caretaker and explores around the forest slowly. Our caretakers have brought him out to the forest for just over two months now and he is becoming more at ease with the forest. Logan is no longer following behind but leading the caretaker where they should go that day. If he starts heading back when caretaker is not following his pace, Logan will even try get the caretaker’s attention to take him somewhere else.
A wild animal will always have their wild instinct. Logan has performed well in the forest day by day through his growth in climbing, digging and foraging skills. He has proved his foraging skills through finding many different types of invertebrates, just in one day, including ants and termites! Ants and termites are the most important protein source for sun bears in the forest. He is an expert at finding the termite nests mound; Logan will start by destroying the termite mound, digging into the nest and then consuming as many as possible. Logan is playing his part by being a forest doctor and maintaining the termites and wildlife, keeping the trees safe healthy.
Logan is a great climber. He can climb up to 4 to 5 metres. He is an explorer. He will try out every possible tree branch in order to climb a tree and practice holding his balance, even though he does fail often. It is said that, “Practice makes perfect”, which we can see Logan continuing to do, in order to perfect his climbing skills. Logan is a playful and naughty bear. He loves to climb up to the top of a small tree, so that he can bend the tree down to reach the forest floor. The tree is not the only thing that he loves to climb, with his favourite thing to climb being the lianas.
Logan seems to enjoy being in the water. He knows how to easily find the water and loves to soak his body with the water. Before he goes into the water, he will check and take a look at the water level at the stream side. He will not enter the water when it is too high, as sometimes it is even taller than him! Nonetheless, he attempt to search in another site that will have water ponds or a river for him to enjoy. Soaking his body in water is a must for Logan, for every time he is in the forest. On days that it rains, Logan will become hyperactive with pure enjoyment; water is a simple pleasure that could make a bear happier in the forest.
Many people will ask what a sun bear will do when encountering another animal: Logan has encountered with the macaques before and immediately became alert as well as slightly insecure. He ran to the surrogate mother, which is a natural for a bear cub wanting to get protection from the mother bear. He stayed close to the caretaker and checked the surroundings as he remained close to his surrogate Mother. He gave a warning bark to the macaques when the individuals would come close, as he felt threatened and will try to retreat from them again.
Logan is thriving daily, with his improvement becoming more and more evident. He is more confident in the forest, which is key for the rest of Logan’s journey here at BSBCC. We hope this is the start of the road to Logan’s freedom and eventual reintroduction back into the forest. This is the biggest hope for a bear, to be reintroduced back to their real home where he belongs.
Text by Seng Yen Wah Photos by Chiew Lin May & Seng Yen Wah
We are the two little bear cubs, Logan and Romolina
Logan and Romolina are the bear cubs we have at BSBCC. Both of them are estimated at eight months old. Even though the same age, Romalina has permanent teeth and canines, whereas Logan still has his milk teeth and canines, with a curved shaped jaw. Logan has a bigger body size than Romalina, due to the gender difference. Both of these cubs have come to BSBCC with a different story.
Logan is a male bear cub. He was found at Lokan River, Kulu-Kulu Village in Sabah. When he first arrived, Logan was small and skinny, with the owner claiming that Logan was abandoned during the crossing of a large river with his Mother, leaving his left front paw maggoty and hairless. As a result, his left front paw has developed abnormally. The owner surrendered him, after keeping him for roughly three months, to the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) on 19th of May 2018, who sent Logan to BSBCC on the same day.
Romolina is a female bear cub. She was kept as a pet for roughly three months at Romol Village, Sapulut. The villager surrendered her after Bob Hartley and Virgil Joon Gunting negotiated with the villager. They sent her to the SWD who the transferred her to BSBCC on 7th of July 2018. As these bears are of such similar ages, we decided to brighten their day and integrate the bear cubs. Logan is a friendly bear. He is curious about the presence of other bears and wants to get close and initiate play fighting with his new friends. Romolina decided to make things difficult. Romolina is more attached with humans and this integration was the first time she became close to another bear. She started to defend herself by vocalizing and tries to give a warning to Logan, as she felt insecure. However, Logan is brave and playful, therefore tries his best to get to know about Romolina despite her insecurity.
First met up for Logan and Romolina!
Romolina shows alert with the presence of Logan.
The day starts to get better. Romolina still uses her vocalisations, but only to warn Logan that she does not like his methods of play. However both bears show that they enjoy playing with each other through their soft biting and pawing. They spent more time playing in the hammock than on the ground. Time on the ground was spent chasing and running after each other within the enclosure, just like the characters from the cartoon “Tom and Jerry”. Both bears fill each other’s times with fun and excitement, showing they really enjoy being around each other.
They are playing on the circle platform.
Soft biting is one of the bear playing ways!
Time to play fight!
Pacing has shown to be one of the stress-related behaviour. This stress-related behaviour may have been caused by the bear’s past life, especially if kept within small cages such as Romolina. When they are integrated, Logan will interrupt Romolina’s pacing which has helped to reduce her stress-related behaviours and time spent performing them. This has shown to be an alternative way and also the best way to help her! Logan and Romolina have been sharing food together but only when it is not Romolina’s favourite food, corn. Romolina wants all the corn to herself and will give Logan a warning if he tries to take her corn away. Other than that, sharing the food has been successful. Sometimes they fight but it will not affect their friendship. We really hope Logan and Romolina can grow up happily together, gain the courage and strength to return to the forest together!