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Text by Alba Nanna Ricking Simoncini
Photos by Jacquelyn Jill Jepiuh
Hi my is Alba Nanna Ricking Simoncini, I am an 18-year-old student from Stockholm Sweden. I have volunteered here at BSBCC for five weeks now. I got this volunteering opportunity through my school, Spånga gymnasium. In Sweden I study animal care and this was a great opportunity to further my knowledge.
These five weeks have gone by so fast it feels like only yesterday I saw the bears and the centre for the first time. When I first saw the centre and the bear house, I knew that I would have really fun here! My first week here was both amazing and super exhausting. I both saw and learned so many new things that I would have never learned in Sweden. This was my first-time seeing sun bears in person, they were much smaller and cuter than I had anticipated! I immediately liked Romolina the most since she looked so adorable sleeping in the trees and she looked especially cute eating carrots. Another bear that I really liked was Kukuton, during fence training with him I really saw how interesting of a bear he was and his backstory really interested me as well, which is why I chose to make my enrichment project for him. I told my buddy David about my idea and with the help of some of the other bear keepers we built it, the saws used for the wood were bad so my arms got really tired. My enrichment idea was a ladder built out of wood that the bears can climb on and play on. Kukuton was a bit skeptical towards it and didn’t really like it but his cage mate Betung and Itam had fun on it and I saw them play on it as well.
Both the work and the off days have been really fun even though it has been tiring sometimes, we tried a lot of new good food as well with the staff which was really fun, and I am really going to miss Milo when I go back to Sweden. My favorite Food was Roti canai! We saw lots of new exciting animals here as well that I have never seen before such as; proboscis monkeys, macaques, big centipedes, hornbills and of course the sunbear! When we walked into the forest to look for termite nests we even saw a wild orang utan!!
The staff was really kind to us and really fun to talk to, they taught me lot of Malay words as well such as terima kasih. It was fun to get to know lots of new people from around the world and to hear about their experiences when working with animals and travelling.