Text by Yu Endo
Photos by Yu Endo & Sumira Muis@APE Malaysia
My name is Yu Endo and I’m from Japan.
I volunteered at BSBCC for 4 weeks and learned many things about sun bears. I learnt alot about environmental enrichment, this is an account of what I learnt and how we thought of and ultimately used the enrichment at BSBCC.
I was surprised at how often we came up with new ideas for enrichment; we brainstormed different ideas for enrichment every single day. I was interested in using enrichment not only to reduce stress but also to enhance the sun bear’s natural behavior. For example in the photo the enrichment was designed so that the bear will rip apart the logs looking for peanut butter, this mimics behavior that the bear would have in the wild.
I also noticed how we used the enrichment differed depending on the individual. After observing the individuals behavior we tailor made the enrichment to suit its personal needs. After the enrichment was introduced we evaluated how effective it was by observing how the individuals interacted with it, this helped us to ensure that the enrichment was effective in achieving the desired behavior.
In addition to enrichment, I experienced a variety of things, talking with Mr. Wong, helping training the sun bears to return to the forest and so on. I really enjoyed observing the sun bears; they are very interesting and fun animals!
I’ m not good at English, but staffs at BSBCC helped me many time. Thank you very much! It was a very good experience for me. I hope to visit BSBCC again in the future.
Text by Seng Yen Wah
Photos by Chiew Lin May & Seng Yen Wah
Logan has just finished his 30 days in quarantine and will be five months old in this June.
He was found at Lokan River, Kulu-Kulu Village, Sandakan, Sabah. His owner reported that he had seen Logan and his mother in an estate and claimed that Logan was left behind when he was following his mother crossing a river. He seemed tiny and his left front paw showed an injury which was covered in maggots and all hair was gone. The owner said he took Logan home and kept him in a small metal cage for around three months and fed him milk and porridge mixed with chicken.
On 19th of May 2018, Logan’s owner surrendered him to the Sabah Wildlife Department and he was assessed by their veterinarian, Dr.Nabila Sarkawi at the BSBCC. It was diagnosed that his left paw is malformed due to the injury which caused him the loss of the first phalange (bone section) of his thumb.
Logan has grown up a lot since his arrival and his body weighs now is 12.4kg. He enjoys every food that is introduced to him. So far his favourite food is honeydew, banana and milk.
Due to his left paw being malformed Logan has difficulty climbing. He very much enjoys every time he gets to climb but getting down is a challenge. He loves to explore his environment and the keepers always can find him in different spots such as on his hammock, the hanging platform, the big platform or resting on the log. Getting into the basket is a big challenge for him since he is still small and the basket is high. However, he likes to climb into the basket for resting or playing with the towel while his keepers are busy cleaning his den.
In the wild, a bear cub will stay with its mother between two and three years. But Logan has no mother beside him and feels insecure at times. He cries, howls and makes ‘Guk-Guk’ sounds to seek comfort and attention. The keepers spend time to play fight with him and teach him some of the pertinent skills such as defence skills. Logan loves spending time with the keepers as he is a playful and active bear. In fact, he is the one who initiates the play fight most of the time.
Apart from that, keepers offer him lots of enrichment and different types of food. He loves digging and does not mind getting dirty. His body appears amongst many small pieces of wood and he loves to sit in the water container to look outside. He is a curious little bear.
Logan has a long way to go. He is brave and we hope he will gain more courage, confidence and strength. We believe he can make it! The forest is his home and he will be back in the wild sooner rather than later. His doughty spirit keeps him going on his journey to becoming a real bear!
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – e.e.cummings
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Tourism and Malaysia Airlines are jointly hosting international wildlife BBC UK presenter, Kate Humble who is currently on a nine-day wildlife adventure tour to Sandakan, Kinabatangan and Deramakot.
Humble’s trip to Sabah is a special initiative by travel consultants Wildlife Worldwide UK to feature Sabah as an off-the-beaten wildlife expedition package for UK travelers. The package is expected to take off later this year.
The highlight of the wildlife expedition will be the presenter’s mission to see and learn about the elusive clouded leopard which can only be found deep in the rainforests of Sabah.
Sabah Tourism had met Humble at the Sepilok and the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) where she had the chance to meet and share insights with Dr Wong Siew Te, founder of the BSBCC.
“This place (Sepilok) is extraordinarily well set-up for travelers like me,” said Humble who was also pleased to see locals visit the centre.
“To be able to see 6-7 species of mammals within the hour half during the night walk at Rainforest Discovery Centre is really special!” she added.
Humble will also be writing her experiences for the Daily Telegraph UK.
Text by Chiew Lin May
Photos by Seng Yen Wah & Chiew Lin May
Montom arrived safely at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC), after a long trip from the Kampung Melankap, Kota Marudu on January 21st, 2015.
The story reported to the Wildlife Rescue Unit was that their dog chased away his mother and she left Montom behind. He was taken and kept as a pet for a year inside a chicken wire mesh cage and was fed with the wrong diet. The owner was willing to surrender Montom to the Sabah Wildlife Department’s Wildlife Rescue Unit. During the arrival, he was stressed and weighed 26.8kg.
The rehabilitation process is long as it takes time for them to learn the vital skills they need to survive in the wild. This step begins with a period of quarantine to recover mentally from their traumatic years in the illegal pet trade, gain back trust and commence rehabilitation at BSBCC. With care and love from our bear team, he slowly recovers from the pain and trauma of being separated from his mother. His appetite is great and he is an active bear. He is quickly settling into his new environment and is getting a taste of the sweet life at the BSBCC.
Thank you to the Sabah Wildlife Department who rescued Montom so that he can have a second chance at living a happy wild bear life.
Since his arrival at the BSBCC, Montom has thrived. He made his first friend, Susie2 and enjoys the social play very much!
Over ten months after Montom was rescued from the illegal pet trade, where all he knew was fear and pain, on October 1st, 2015 he and Susie2 took their biggest step out from their dens into the forest and sunshine outside!
Montom kept looking up at all the TALL trees, again and again.
He is an exceptionally brave bear!
Montom moved around a lot to forage.
He went out quickly to his forest and began foraging eagerly for his favorite food.
In Malay language, the sun bear is known as “beruang madu” (honey madu) since it likes consuming honey. The sun bear has an extremely acute sense of smell. He will become incredibly excited if he finds honey! The availability of tasty beetles, pill millipedes, termites, ants and invertebrates has caused Montom to love spending more time on feeding and staying in the forest. This is EXCELLENT for him! He can always be seen sitting and eating his food between his fore paws.
Montom is a very inquisitive bear and is doing very well in the forest.
He is surprisingly good at climbing for his age.
Montom climbed up into the trees to continue his exploration of the forest.
You could hear tearing sounds from above – finding termites!
There has been one time that Montom was hanging upside down and had tied himself with the vines; he was having so much fun!
He is happy to be with all his bear friends where they can be free to forage,
sniff for HONEY,
chat with bear friends,
have a good roll in the soil
and growl together!
Montom is quite playful and he enjoys play wrestling with Kala.
He is one of the peacemakers and is a very gentle bear.
He will normally find a nice shaded place to have a nap.
On rainy days, he loves staying high up in the trees to cool off and avoid leeches!
Sun bears are very expressive!
He loves beaming his big bear SMILE and thoroughly enjoys himself!
He has embraced everything about his new life.
Way to go Montom! He is on his way to learning more skills that will help him return to the forest one day!!
Video by Chiew Lin May
Days 30: Logan successfully passed through quarantine and now experience as a wild bear
Orphaned sun bear cubs require extensive round-the-clock care with a balanced diet and forest exercise to help them grow strong and build confidence.
Little Logan is in good health and now weighs 11.90 kg. He has lost his mother at very young age and now has to learn by himself how to survive in the wild. He still has a long way to go through rehabilitation but he will never again live in trauma.Find out how Logan learns to experience life as a wild bear!
Please make a difference by giving Little Logan the second chance of freedom.
Video by Chiew Lin May
Wild food + Freedom = LOVE
Logan has developed his foraging skills in forest. He find out a pill millipede and munching on it! Crunchy!!
Video by Chiew Lin May
Sun bears serve as "forest farmers" by help mix nutrients in the soil to enhance the forest nutrient cycle.
One of our female rescued sun bears, Mary finds great joy in digging and digs like an archaeologist looking for grubs and termites!
Please protect sun bears from extinction. They serve important ecologic roles to maintain the health of our forest ecosystem!
Video by Chiew Lin May
Yay!! We have got our new gunny nap swing!
Watch how Kina and Sika are enthusiastic about exploring new enrichment together. Don't be surprised!
New Straits Times, 8th June 2018
by Avila Geraldine
KOTA KINABALU: Despite stringent laws in Sabah, many continue to use the social media platforms to trade endangered exotic wildlife as pets across the nation.
Raising the concern, Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) has identified Facebook and Instagram accounts offering sun bear cubs, civet cats, leaf monkeys, gibbons, leopard cats, raptors, hornbills and tapir among others.
BSBCC founder and chief executive officer Dr Wong Siew Te said the authorities would know about this and yet there are not enough action taken by them.
“I have reported my findings since last year and sadly it's business as usual for some of the people involved,” he told NSTP.
“If this continues, our wildlife will be gone soon. There are already many wildlife population affected by habitat lost over the past 50 years.
“The remaining wildlife population are barely hanging on to the highly fragmented habitat with a lot of poaching pressure,” Wong said.
Wong, a wildlife biologist, said most of the traders operate using private accounts and some have their contacts clearly stated. “They can be traced and contacted, if the authorities wants to.”
He urged the government to seriously look into this as illegal wildlife traders and buyers appear not to be afraid of the law.
“It’s time for change on how we look at wildlife conservation. The government needs to look at wildlife crime more seriously,” he stressed.
Wong noted that the BSBCC celebrated Sun Bear Day on May 16 to raise public awareness on the protection and conservation of sun bears.
But few days later, close to the end of May, he detected an advertisement that offered a sun bear cub online.
Sun bears are totally protected in Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia. It is also a protected species in Sarawak.
Wong stressed wild animals sold were national treasures, adding they play important roles in the forest ecosystem.
“They are abducted and killed. If we keep quiet and choose to do nothing, soon our forest will become an empty forest,” he added.
Harian Metro, 8th June 2018
by Avila Geraldine
DI sebalik ketegasan undang-undang hidupan liar, masih ramai individu tidak bertanggungjawab yang dikesan aktif menggunakan platform media sosial untuk menjual haiwan eksotik terancam sebagai binatang peliharaan di seluruh negara.
Lebih membimbangkan, Pusat Konversasi Beruang Madu Borneo (BSBCC) turut mengenalpasti beberapa akaun Facebook dan Instagram yang dikenalpasti aktif menawarkan beruang madu, kucing civet, lotong, siamang, harimau dahan, burung pemangsa, burung enggang dan tapir.
Pengasas BSBCC yang juga Ketua Pegawai Eksekutifnya, Dr Wong Siew Te berkata, pihak berkuasa berkaitan sedar berhubung perkara itu, namun seolah-olah tidak mengambil tindakan yang secukupnya.
Katanya, perkara itu sudah dilaporkan kepada pihak berkuasa sejak tahun lalu, namun apa yang menyedihkan transaksi perniagaan membabitkan haiwan terancam itu masih berjalan seperti biasa.
"Jika ini berterusan, hidupan liar kita akan hilang tidak lama lagi. Terdapat banyak lagi populasi hidupan liar yang terkesan disebabkan kehilangan habitat sejak 50 tahun lalu.
"Baki populasi hidupan liar lain turut terancam akibat aktiviti pemburuan haram," katanya kepada NSTP.
Menurut ahli biologi itu, walaupun kebanyakan peniaga beroperasi menggunakan akaun peribadi secara tertutup, tetapi ada juga yang meletakkan identiti mereka dengan jelas dan akan memudahkan mereka dikesan dan dihubungi oleh pihak berkuasa.
Katanya, pihak berkuasa digesa memperketatkan usaha pemuliharaan hidupan liar itu memandangkan penjual dan pembeli hidupan liar haram kelihatan seperti tidak takut kepada undang-undang.
"Sudah tiba masanya untuk memperkukuhkan lagi usaha pemuliharaan hidupan liar. Urusniaga ini (hidupan liar) tidak boleh diteruskan seperti biasa. Kerajaan perlu melihat jenayah hidupan liar ini dengan lebih serius," katanya.
Sementara itu, Siew Te berkata, BSBCC menyambut Hari Beruang Madu, setiap 16 Mei untuk meningkatkan kesedaran orang ramai terhadap perlindungan dan pemuliharaan haiwan itu.
Bagaimanapun katanya, penghujung Mei pula, beliau mengesan masih ada iklan yang menawarkan anak beruang madu dalam talian.
Beruang madu dilindungi sepenuhnya di Sabah dan Semenanjung. Ia juga spesies yang dilindungi di Sarawak.
Tegasnya hidupan liar memainkan peranan penting dalam ekosistem hutan.
"Jika aktiviti sedemikian dibiarkan, hutan kita akan menjadi kosong tidak lama lagi," tambah beliau.