Finally got down to some enrichments today! So far the enrichments we came up with involved a lot of claw and tongue action (haha!), since captivity limits the use of these two vital body parts of the sun bears. We’re going to have to think of something different the next time.
We all have a soft spot for Manis because she’s developed some mental problems from her time in a zoo - her stereotypic pacing behaviour has instilled itself so deeply in her psyche that even the best enrichments fail to distract her. We gave her 5 minutes alone with the enrichment, then set loose the other 3 bears. Suzie, the most dominant one, pretty much hogged the log and its hidden treats by herself, leaving the others some leftovers and occasional quick, stolen snatches when she wasn’t looking.
There are two groups of females at BSBCC. The first week I thought telling apart the individuals in each group would be impossible, but today I realised I could do it for the adult female group. Saylin was saying that we all have our own personal favourites, which we all quickly denied. But I think the truth is that no one wants to reveal they have any: we’re trying (or rather, pretending) to be egalitarian!
The bears here get fed porridge twice a day, and since bears are opportunistic feeders, they eat just about anything - popcorn, raisins, bread, you name it. - and it won’t really have adverse health effects if kept in low quantities. The joke today was that if these bears are eventually released in the wild, they’re going to find the nearest popcorn stand, or teochew porridge stall…. and may God bless the people there.
It’s going to take a bit of work to wean them off these human foods, especially porridge. But that may be a while - BSBCC still needs donations for Phase 2: the visitor centre. Only through the construction of Phase 2 can the organisation be self-sustaining and then have adequate funds to channel into its rehab programs. Help spread the word!