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Text by Sarah Ilsley
Photos by Jude Ailton George & Jacquelyn Jill Jepiuh
I came to BSBCC through the recommendation of one of my college tutors, Katie, as she knew I wanted to do some travelling in Borneo following a cancelled trip back in 2020 due to the pandemic. As well as getting more experience working with animals following my internship at Chester Zoo in summer 2021.
I will be forever grateful to her as well as the staff here at BSBCC and APE Malaysia for making this all possible because this has quite literally been a dream come true and at times, I still can’t comprehend that I’m finally here after four years and am devastated I have to leave!
I was initially quite nervous as I was eager to make a good impression as well as it being the furthest I’ve been from home in the UK, but I had absolutely nothing to worry about and I cannot express how lovely, welcoming and patient everyone has been here at the Centre and it has truly meant a lot to me.
These two weeks really have flown by and although it’s been hard work, I have loved every moment; learning about sun bear husbandry/care and the species in general, as they are one of the biggest mammals I’ve worked with so far, through practical husbandry tasks, helping with a health check (where I was able to clean a bears paw!!) as well as well as having the pleasure to chat to Dr.Wong and Pradeep several times where I have been able to get some realistic and valuable career advice.
I have also had opportunities to experience other wildlife this island has to offer through river cruises and rainforest night walks where I’ve managed to see and animals that I have only loved from afar in documentaries and photos on the internet- it’s truly been incredible.
All of this is an experience I will hold close forever and have loved so much so, I can’t quite put it into words.