Text by Amy Louise Patience
Photos by Jacquelyn Jill Jepiuh
My first experience with Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre was in April 2018. At that time, I was just visiting the Centre and happened to meet three women from Queensland, Australia who were volunteering and offered to tell me about the sun bears (thanks Krystal, Krystal and Sue). Almost five years later, I’ve returned to BSBCC to volunteer myself!
It’s been an absolute privilege to help look after the sun bears for the last two weeks. My excellent bear keeper buddy Nealbert has taught me so much about the bears, conservation, Sabah and all of the animals in the Bornean rainforest (thankyou Neal!) The culture of the BSBCC staff and bear house is welcoming and friendly, making it easy to feel at home and to learn the new tasks.
Sadly, some bears are not able to be released into the wild, however I’ve been lucky enough to witness the preparations for Sika’s release into the Tabin wildlife reserve and see everyone’s hard work paying off. I’ll be looking out for the BBC special!
Making enrichment and seeing the bears interact with it was especially memorable. I hope that one day I can return to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre and the beautiful surroundings once more.
Text by Henry Smith
Photos by Jacquelyn Jill Jepiuh
When I decided I wanted to go traveling on my 18th birthday I also realised I wanted to do something worthwhile. I looked in some travel brochures and saw a small black bear with a yellow patch on his chest. I instantly fell in love with them and thought this is what I’m going to do at the end of my trip. So, after three and a half months of traveling around eastern Asia and Australasia I finally ended up at the BSBCC.
My first thoughts were that this place is incredible, and my thoughts were correct. Everyone working at BSBCC was amazingly friendly and helpful when it came to explaining the work we’d be doing over the coming fortnight. They then continued to be helpful and friendly when we carried out the tasks. You’re paired up with a bear keeper when working and mine, Julamih, was particularly patient when it came down to me trying to guess which bear was which. At first it was hopeless and I could only get one or two correct names, however by the end of the two weeks I reckon I could correctly name at least ten.
The work we did was hard and it did smell a bit, although this made it all the more fun. Apart from cleaning up after the bears we got to complete tonnes of smaller activities depending on what day it was, my favourite was hiking out into the jungle to search for termite nests, which is a favourite for some of the bears. The variety in tasks combined with the humour of the bear keepers and also the thought of doing something worth made the time go by very fast.
The other volunteers staying with me in the volunteer house were also incredibly kind, sadly for them I said I’d cook most nights, although my mediocre food aside we had a great time and I’ve definitely made some friends for life.
The work they’re doing at BSBCC is incredibly important for this species of bear that is under so much threat. And without the extra help from the volunteers the bear keepers wouldn’t be able to as much for the health or happiness of the bear. I had tonnes of fun and made some memories that will last forever, I’ve also discovered more about Bornean sun bears and how getting them back into the wild is the best thing for them. I’d thoroughly recommend to anyone wanting to volunteer with the sun bears specifically or any animals, you’ll love it.
Day 1 Borneo SDG Summit 2023
Booth exhibition at the Mulu Hall (First Floor), Coco Cabana, Miri, Sarawak. It is our pleasure and honor as we enjoy the sharing conversation.
Day 2 Borneo SDG Summit 2023
Workshop: The Importance of Animal Enrichment in Sun Bear Care & Rehabilitation conducted by Mr Haniff & Ms Risnayati.
Ms Gloria Ganang, BSBCC's Environmental Education Executive, delivered a talk with the title "A Holistic Approach to Conserve the Sun Bears."
Today 15th March 2023, Yayasan Sime Darby’s CEO, Dr Hjh Yatela Zainal Abidin and Sime Darby Plantation (SDP) Chief Sustainability Officer Mr Rahsyid Redza Anwarudin paid a visit to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC). The group personally guided by Dr. Wong Siew Te, who brought them to the observation platforms and bear house and updating the delegates on the current updates and future plans in the whole Centre. We would like to say thank you to Yayasan Sime Darby for the supports and contributions for the past 12 years. Thank you for helping the least known bear species in the world!
Thank you, Sepilok Junior Rangers of Rainforest Discovery Centre, for visiting us yesterday. They have about 25 members, ranging in age from 9 to 17 years. As usual, they are given a short briefing on BSBCC and safety rules before going to the observation platforms. After that, we conducted bear observation activities where they needed to observe the bear's behaviour while roaming in the forest enclosure. They seem excited about exploring the sun bears' world. We hope they enjoy their time here and help us spread the word to save the smallest species of bear and other wildlife. See you again!
We are honoured to be part of Kind Malaysia 2023, the two-day event that aims to connect kind-hearted people, like-minded individuals from non-profit organisations, responsible corporations, and small-to-medium-sized enterprises to forge relationships that will demonstrate KINDNESS towards the community. Our founder, Dr. Wong Siew Te, was one of the panellists for Panel Discussion 1, with the topic "Kindness Unites Humanity," which was held in the morning session and followed by giving Pocket Talks in the afternoon.
We are more than happy to spread our words to save the world's smallest bear species and connect with kind-hearted people who support us in helping the sun bears by buying our merchandise during this event. May your KINDNESS be blessed!
Appreciation to the Kind Malaysia 2023 organisers for making such a programme that provides us a platform to interact with other organisations and corporations. We hope that we can support each other in many ways in the future. Thank You!