Text by Timothy Ng Cheuk Fung Photos by Sumira Muis@APE
My name is Timothy Ng and I’m studying to be a Veterinarian at The University of Melbourne. My 2 weeks here at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) was filled with excitement, as well as countless learning opportunities. It is definitely an experience for all wildlife enthusiasts.
By the end of the first day, our brains were saturated with information and facts about sun bears, thrown at us by the friendliest team of people that work at the centre. The staff were excellent teachers, and there was bearly any language beariers. Within the next few days, we were quickly taught a wide variety of skills that allowed us to work like bear keepers: food preparation, feeding, cleaning, and installing enrichments.
However, the learning experience didn’t simply end there. Throughout the programme, we ventured out beyond the scope of the Bears and their enclosures. As many might know, bear husbandry does not only include activities that directly correlate to the bears. It also requires knowledge, for example, on the bear’s habitat. Therefore, we were also able to learn about other interesting matters, such as where to find termite mounds, other animals that share the rainforests with the bears, how the animals interact, the plants in our surrounds, and how to build enrichments.
The heat, humidity, and downpours made tasks much more challenging. Fortunately, the work environment created by passionate staff, and the frequent visits from free roaming wildlife made our work much more bearable.
Although its only for 2 weeks, I’m very grateful to be able to take part in BSBCC’s mission to improve the bear’s welfare and help in the rehabilitation process. I highly recommend this programme to anyone who is eager to learn, and wouldn’t mind getting a few leeches on them.