Photos by Seng Yen Wah
My name is Chantal Jeffrey and I study a bachelor of animal ecology at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia for which I completed two weeks of volunteer work at the BSBCC. Now, I won’t lie, it was tiring, hot work but let me tell you why it was so fulfilling and worthwhile.
Starting at the centre, I was welcomed by extremely lovely staff whose politeness and contagious happiness instantly struck me. All of the bear keepers, workers and other volunteers were informative, happy to help and answer all questions which benefited my learning experience. They were encouraging, bubbly and always smiling which really made me feel part of the BSBCC family.
I was shown the hard work and skills it takes to be a bear keeper and the immense dedication I witnessed, by all staff, to caring for the sun bears was truly inspirational.
As well as aiding in the animal welfare side of things, I was also sent to work on the viewing platforms. There, I communicated with tourists, introducing them to bears, educating them about sun bear morphology and ecology and ultimately, promoting awareness of the importance of their conservation. It was very satisfying, knowing that I was helping to spread the word about this incredible and beautiful species.
Working for the sun bears at the BSBCC was absolutely amazing and so rewarding. Despite only being two weeks, it was a truly unforgettable experience that left me with countless memories and I would go back and do it all again without hesitation.