The BSBCC education outreach programme is continuing to be conducted and this time the BSBCC education team visited schools in Ranau district. We started our outreach programme by joining the Community Policing Programme at Genting Suan Lamba Estate on the 2nd April 2017 organized by HUTAN-Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Programme. We were given a chance to share information about sun bear to students and community at Suan Lamba Estate from the talk session and exhibitions that we had prepared. On the next day (3rd April 2017) BSBCC outreach programme continued running in Ranau. We had visited 5 schools in Ranau that involves 2,112 students and 112 teachers. We invited our partners from Hutan-KOCP and Sabah Wildlife Department, Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU), Danau Girang Field Centre, Borneo Bird Club and Sabah Parks to join us and we organized various environmental education activities for the students. All of the students enjoyed their time learning about the environment and wildlife species through exhibitions, talks and some activities.
Text and Photos by Chiew Lin May
Since being rescued from a village in Sikalabaan, Sabah on February 9th 2017, Sika, a five month old, female sun bear cub, has completed her time in quarantine.
She has shown tremendous growth in the last month. She is an active, healthy and beautiful female bear cub. She now weighs 7.25kg.
The next rehabilitation phase for Sika is taking her out for walks in the forest. The problem with Sika is that she is still nervous to step out from her dens and the bonding between her surrogate mother is still weak. She was caged alone as a pet in a chicken mesh cage after losing her mother. All little Sika knew was pain and fear. She has needed to gain back confidence and trust towards her new surroundings.
To prepare her in gaining back strength, confidence and trust, we have moved Sika into a larger exercise den with an environment which is as close as possible to life in the wild. This exercise dens is full of natural habitat enrichment such as dead wood, green leaves, leafy browse, climbing structures, a platform, and treats to stimulate and prepare her for life back in the wild.
We gave Sika the opportunity to venture out for the very first time. Once Sika was brought to the larger exercise den, she was easily stressed by noise and paced with alert at the new larger exercise den. She kept vocalizing and was uncomfortable with it. We tried to comfort and help her adapt to the new environment by showing her new enrichment toys. Sika needed plenty of time.
Thankfully, she did it! She calmed down and adapted to it. She decided it was time to explore the whole exercise den. Sun bear cubs require a lot of exercise to practice their physical skills and grow stronger! Her courage has grown with each day and she has started exploring.
She will gaze up at the nearby forest surrounding her exercise dens.
She always goes straight to the big log and pulls off its branches. After one week, we are pleased with her progress in finding the strength to venture without any hesitation.
Sika is learning to trust her surrogate mother without fear. She will be growing and learning under the guidance of her surrogate mother.
She loves rolling and wrestling, and she is just so happy. Sika has excellent climbing skills. She uses her small curved claws to create a cavity in the climbing log to get the ants. Sometimes she will climb high to get a better look and avoid strange sounds! We envy her tree-climbing skills!!
She is learning and experiencing that life as a wild bear can be great. She knows her tragic past is now behind her and is discovering her natural behavior. She has proven herself to be a sweet natured sun bear! We hope the next move will be taking little Sika on walks in the forest to let her experience the true Bornean environment.
We are very honored to have a visit from the US Ambassador, Kamala Shirin Lakhdir. The founder and CEO of BSBCC, Dr. Wong Siew Te delivered a short presentation on BSBCC's roles and efforts in sun bear conservation in sabah before taking the Ambassador to sun bear viewing at the observation platforms. After that, Ambassador Kamala Shirin Lakhdir also spent some time for story telling (The Wild Tree House of Borneo) to a group of students that visited us on the same day. The students were very happy to meet the Ambassador. On the same day of the Ambassador visit, BSBCC also welcomed another two more school visits from from SJK (C) Ming Chung and SK St. Mary Town, Sandakan. As per usual, the students were briefed with a short presentation on sun bears and later they did some activities such as bears observation and doing bear origami. Thank you for visiting us!