Text by Chiew Lin May
Photos by Seng Yen Wah & Chiew Lin May
Soo was rescued and arrived at BSBCC on 8th September 2017. She was sold and purchased at RM 350 when she was just a cub in Karamatoi village at the Sook Keningau market. She was kept as a house pet in Nambayan village in Tambunan, the interior division of Sabah, for two years. Soo is one of the lucky ones to have been rescued from captivity. But, like all the rescued sun bears in our centre, she has suffered trauma and been taken away from the chance to grow up with her mum in the forest home.
After Soo completed her 30 days in quarantine, she had bloomed into a healthy and beautiful bear. She has a healthy appetite.
Special care is vital for Soo as she requires love to recover from the physical and psychological trauma she endured. We spend more time encouraging her to get use to the sights and scents around her, and to introduce her to different types of enrichment before moving her to a larger den.
Soo loves every type of food, especially honey, dog biscuits and fruit! It is amazing to see the progress Soo has made in these three months.
Life is very different for Soo today! On 19th November 2017, Soo was released into the great exercise dens.
The exercise dens are enriched with natural habitat enrichment such as green leaves, dead wood, a climbing structure, fire hose bags, a sleeping hammock and different types of platforms to stimulate and prepare her for life back in the wild.
For most of the trauma bears, this is the challenging part they face in the transition from smaller cages to open spaced enclosures. Once the guillotine door was opened, she was peering out at us from her den then she took about 10 minutes to take her brave first steps out to the big exercise dens and made her way to find her favourite treats! She made it!!
She is now strolling around her new home and investigates her new finds.
She keeps sniffed out treats hidden around the enrichment structure.
She is eager to explore her new surroundings. She is becoming more energetic and active by the day. She learns to love everything about her new life, especially now that she knows she is protected and loved.
Day by day, life is getting better for these rescued sun bears that have lived with pain for so long. This allows her to demonstrate her natural behavior, for example foraging and climbing skills.
She finds absolute joy in little things. It is not always an easy journey but seeing Soo munching on termites and playing with enrichment toys assures us it is all worth it.
Over the past few months, Soo has amazed us all with her trauma recovery. Thanks to our dedicated bear team, Soo continues to grow stronger each day.
It was clear that something needed to change. We owe it to every single one of them to try and return the freedom that belongs to them. Soo has years of rehabilitation ahead of her. Please help us save sun bears and ensure Soo still has a home in the protected forest to return to when the time comes.