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Text and photos by Jacquelyn Jill Jepiuh
Rudy has now moved from our quarantine area to the Bear House! Here she has been getting used to being neighbours with Kina, Soo and BJ. We have noticed tremendous progress with Rudy. From being shy to climb and exploring anything too high up to now being a great climber and enjoying sleeping in her basket or hammock! She’s learnt a lot from her other bear neighbours.
Rudy is generally a nervous bear when it came to going out into the training pen but eventually, she would build up the courage and zoom straight out into the training pen not even glancing at the snacks we put out for her. The new smells coming from outside intrigued her more and she would rather explore the training pen than eat her favourite bananas. On her first day training, she did get anxious and couldn’t find her way back into the night den once she had reached the ground. Her keepers did not give up on her and eventually coaxed her back into her night den where she could relax.
After several sessions of fence training for Rudy, we finally observed her to recognise the hot wire. Another big step towards the forest enclosure! Rudy would nervously look at her bananas near the hot wire and quickly but carefully take to eat it.
This week has been the biggest week for Rudy as we are confident enough to release Rudy into the forest enclosure. The first few sessions were unsuccessful and Rudy would just sit on top of the ramp not wanting to climb down to the forest ground. She would even reach her little body out with her back feet still touching the ramp just to grab a banana.
We decided to let her out through a different route and also place out all the most delicious food out for her so she couldn’t resist. It worked! At last Rudy slowly made her way down to the forest ground eating her favourites first (bananas!). Most of the time she stayed near the ramp exploring and eating. In time, she explored a bit further into the forest enclosure under the watchful eyes of her keepers. Rudy even started to climb a tree but got spooked by a noise nearby so she continued on digging and exploring on the ground instead. She is constantly alert with her surroundings. Even though she is still quite nervous and anxious to be outside, Rudy is starting to show her natural bear instincts when she is out in the forest enclosure. With time and patience, we are sure that she will settle in and feel more comfortable in her new home.
From being a pet and living in a cage to finally being out and free in the forest enclosure, from arriving as a shy and scared bear to being a playful and curious bear. Our team are so proud of you Rudy! We are grateful to our sponsors Hasanah Foundation and Sime Darby Foundation for supporting our cause and helping us to rehabilitate more bears like Rudy. Thank you for all your help and support!