With the success of last year's "Bornean Sun Bear Hero Project", the MARA Junior College (MRSM) of Tun Mohammad Fuad Stephens is organizing this year's "Bornean Sun Bear Hero Project 2.0" with the same objective: to increase community awareness, especially among school children, in protecting and conserving Sun Bears, as well as incorporating the message of Global Sustainable Development 2030 into the programme (Goal 15: Life on Land). As one of the activities for this global project, MRSM invited Dr Wong Siew Te as the Skype guest speaker for the Virtual Field Trip session entitled "Meet Malaysia's Papa Bear". With the participation of 15 schools (~300 students) from 10 countries, it was a very interactive programme and BSBCC can't wait for the next collaboration with MRSM!
Text by Nathaly Velarde
Photos by Chiew Lin May
Hello my name is Nathaly Velarde and I’m from Sweden. I will graduate in 2 months from Spanga Gymnasium. Every year my school sends 4 volunteers to Borneo for an internship so we can gain experience, knowledge of how a zookeeper works. Which I’m so thankful for and I hope they keep sending more students to Borneo so they learn everything we have learnt about sun bears and rehabilitation.
When I was told that I will be one of the lucky student to do my internship in Borneo I got really happy. Since I was born in Bolivia I got really interested in rehabilitation because I found similarities like how poaching works, and the rainforest is disappearing. I got to learn a lot from Dr. Wong Siew Te when we had the question session where he told us how we have to think and act. His wise words will stay with me forever and I want to make a change in how Bolivia is handling the animals and help as much as I can.
These past 5 weeks have been so much fun, I have learnt a lot about sun bears which I will pass on the information to people in Sweden and Bolivia so they know how important and cute they are. Before coming here, I didn’t know what to expect, I’m shy with new people but after spending a few days at the center I already felt comfortable and I’m thankful that the staff at the center are always happy and nice.
Something I learnt a lot about is enrichment before I came here I already knew the importance of giving enrichment to animals in captivity but the meaning “enrichment” is more valuable here and I love that. Everyday we try to make enrichment for the sun bears so they have something to play with and does not feel bored.
I want to thank BCBCC and APE Malaysia for doing an amazing job. I really loved these 5 weeks here in Borneo and im really thankful for my school that gave this big opportunity.
Good luck and I hope I can come back again.
On the 1st of May 2019, a group of staff from Employees Provident Fund (EPF) or Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja (KWSP) Sandakan Branch visited BSBCC to do a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) work.
Their arrival were warmly greeted and the whole visit were preceded with an introductory talk about the sun bears and followed with observation session at the platform.
Next to it, the group was separated into two smaller groups in which the first group were given the task to clean several empty enclosures and collecting enrichment materials such as rotten logs, branches and termite mounds, in which they were needed to trek into the forest, bumping into a group of macaques! The other group helped the Environmental Education team to prepare some of the educational materials for future use.
It was a tiring and pretty exhausting day for them all, but it was also enjoyable for them and for BSBCC. Thank you KWSP Sandakan for the visit and the help given to us.