Text and photos by Siew Te Wong
Today 40 junior high school students from Singapore International School visited BSBCC. These visitors were led by APE Malaysia (Animal Project and Environment Education) http://www.apemalaysia.com/index.php
These students came from more than 10 different countries across the world. We separated the students into two groups of 20 students to ease management and logistics on the ground. Today's program begun with an hour long lecture about sun bears and their conservation stories given by me, followed by doing an observation on our few of our sun bears who stayed in the bear house. The students were asked to record their behavior for 15 minutes. After that we talked about the idea of enrichment for these animals and asked the students to create their own enrichment items for the bears. They then record the bear's behavior for another 15 minutes with the enrichment items that they created and compared the results pre-and post enrichment items given to the bears. The idea behind this simple, yet meaningful exercise was to let the students know the important of enrichments for captive animals. In addition, the students also got to witness how smart sun bears were when they played and figured out ways to get into the rewards- honey, fruit jams, nuts, and even canned sardines.I see hope. The future of the sun bear relies on EDUCATION!
Needless to say, these kids learned a lot about sun bears and have few hours of up-close-and personal experience with the sun bears. Now they know the conservation issues faced by the sun bears fighting for their survival. They also got to witness how special and unique sun bears are. Everyone just fall in love with the bears.
At the end of the morning session, one girl came to me, "Can I stay here all day?"
I paused, smiled and did not know how to reply her.
The same exercise repeated again for the other 20 students group. At the end of the day, everyone was tired (at lease I was, after giving the second hour long lecture). The students were very kind to deliver a donation to BSBCC before they boarded into the bus. Thank you kiddo!