Text and Photos by Bellinda Ramond
Hi, I am Bellinda and I am 22 years old. I come all the way from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan to complete my internship here at Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. I was greeted by my supervisor, Thye Lim at Sandakan airport. I remember the first time I entered BSBCC’s office. All of the staffs were gathered for their weekly meeting and everyone was staring at me. I felt very nervous but yet excited to start my internship here.
My first day of internship officially started when Thye Lim gave introductions and briefing about BSBCC and their operations. Later, I started to work at the bear house. Roger is one of the bear keepers who gave me short briefing about the works at the bear house and also about the dos and don’ts while at the bear house. Still at my first week, I am still shy to everyone and do not talk a lot... I only talk when I need to. Hahaha! I started to clean the cages at the bear house. It may look easy to clean the cages but actually it requires a lot of energy! It was quite tiring for a first timer like me to clean the cages. Besides cleaning cages, I also have to prepare food for 35 bears. The foods are being separated according to groups. Some bears have special diet too because of their health condition.
I learn how to recognize and remember every bear by remembering their cage location and their groups. After almost 2 months, I can remember all of the bear’s name and their physical appearances that differentiate them from each other! Seeing the bears every day at the bear house also makes me learn every bear’s behaviour. Mister Linggam, who is picky about his food and doesn’t like dirty cage, Om the karate kid who always make noise playing and swinging the wood, Susie the lazy bear who always growl whenever her food is served late, Jelita the bear who sometimes will soak her head inside the water bowl and Fulung who likes to stand up using his hind legs while suckling his fore feet.
My favourite part while working at the bear house is making enrichments for the bears. I like to see the bears use their senses and strengths when they explore their enrichments! Different type of enrichments provide comforting environment to the bears and also enhance their natural skill behaviour such as foraging and climbing.
Besides working at the bear house, every interns or volunteers will go up to the observation platform and interact with the visitors. Talking to the visitors is fun! But it’s not fun when a group of macaques is making chaos at the observation platform...
There are many things that I’ve experienced during my time here including bear annual health check, bears integration, outreach programme to Pitas district and Rhythm of Rimba Wildlife Festival 2015!
I am very grateful to have wonderful people around me especially Daniela who is my roommate, my best friend, and my sister! She is the first one that I miss the most after I left BSBCC. Not forgetting, everyone that I met and spend time with every day, I will remember all the jokes and laughter that we shared together! Huge thanks to the Founder & CEO of BSBCC, Mr. Wong Siew Te for giving me this golden opportunity to be part of BSBCC family for the past 3 months and also to my supervisor Thye Lim, thank you for being a great supervisor and guiding me throughout my time at BSBCC. Thank you to everyone who has been part of my journey at BSBCC!
Thank you so much and see you again! Pounsikou om kopiruba kito kawagu!