Text and Photos by Jacquelyn Jill Jepiuh
On the 26th July, BSBCC welcomed our 67th rescue - Rudy - a 4 year old female bear transferred from Lok Kawi Wildlife Park. It was a long day for her and our Bear Care team transporting her all the way from Lok Kawi to Sandakan but she finally arrived and all in good health.
Her first day in her new home was as expected as she showed some signs of stress and fear. However, thanks to Julamih and Jude for making her den as comfortable as possible, she eventually calmed down and we observed her to extremely enjoy the dead logs given to her when no one was looking. CCTV footage showed that she was very active during the night time exploring her den and playing with the enrichments the whole night.
It is now her 3rd day in BSBCC and each day we see her slowly settling in to her new environment. From barking at us when we would walk past to lazily glancing up at us as she continues her afternoon nap. We also observed her exhibit natural bear behaviour as she enjoys destroying logs in search for termites, climbing and playing with the tree branches in her den. This is the progress that makes us excited and hopeful for her future with BSBCC whereby she can eventually be released into a forest enclosure or even back to the wild.
Welcome to BSBCC, Rudy! We'll do our best to make you feel your bear-y self.
We love seeing Rudy slowly settling in to her den. She would climb and play with the branches and logs that our keepers gave.
Text by Jacquelyn Jill Jepiuh
Photos by Julamih bin Jainuddin , Jude Ailton George, Jacquelyn Jill Jepiuh
The time has finally come for our five bears – Luna, Itam, Kipaku, Kukuton and Betung – to move to the next stage of their rehabilitation programme! These five have successfully passed their integration with each other and have recently been moved from our Quarantine centre to the Bear House. Moving them to the Bear house means one step closer to being released into the forest enclosure and can finally experience what a real bear should be like. They will hopefully learn to exhibit natural bear behaviours such as foraging for food, exploring, nest-making, climbing and many more.
It was a two-day moving process with thanks to Dr Boon and the Bear care team that made the process smooth and successful. The first and busiest day was relocating Itam, Kipaku, Kukuton and Betung. These four bears all have something in common, whereby their right to be free in the forest was taken from them as a young cub. Now that they have been relocated to the bear house, we will finally be able to give them what they deserve - a forest enclosure!
First up was Betung. After she was darted and it was finally safe to approach her, she was carried and taken to the clinic for a health check. Betung’s condition has dramatically improved since she first arrived at BSBCC - emaciated and malnourished. After the health check was done, the team brought her straight to her pen in Bear House 2 which had already been prepared with toys and furniture for their easement into a new environment.
The same procedure was carried out with the other 3 bears. All bears passed their health and dental checks with flying colours and were all in stable condition which allowed the whole operation that day to go quickly with no undesirable incidents. They were given plenty of enrichment such as this large log and they had such a fun time destroying it.
On the second day, it was a bit more special as it was Luna’s turn to be relocated. As the youngest cub and having the closest bond to her caretakers, Julamih and Jude, it was time to let this little girl grow up and learn to be more independent with less human bonding time and more bear time! Her health check showed that she is progressing really well since she was first hand-raised at 8 days old. She was then brought to Bear House 2 after the health check. She was very calm and curious about her surroundings.
We even got to celebrate her 1st ever birthday! Our bear keepers prepared an array of enrichment and also a fruit-themed birthday cake for her. Little Luna loved the ice blocks and devoured the fruit cake. She also thoroughly enjoyed the leaf pool and punching bag that was made for her.
Overall, the five bears are slowly getting used to their new dens in the bear house. We love to see them play, fight and interact with one another. Currently, we are doing maintenance on their forest enclosure to ensure their safety when they get released. The next step for these five bears is to undergo fence training and will eventually be allowed to explore the forest once they pass their training. Do send these bears your love and support and we hope that the rehabilitation process will go well so that they can potentially be released back into their natural habitat in the future.
Text by Ooi Xun Heng
Photos by Jacquelyn Jill Jepiuh, Jude Ailton George, Pradeep Aggi Gunasegaran
I had been to some conservation centres in Malaysia before, and I believe besides the people who save lives, the staff who work for nature are also heroes. Well, after being a volunteer for the BSBCC program, I did not doubt it even once. People's lives are slowly getting away from physical activities, more to virtual events ever since the COVID-19 pandemic. But instead of helping the community to conserve wildlife virtually, I decided to take a trip to BSBCC in Sandakan. The border of Malaysia has finally and officially reopened on the 1st of April in 2022. Well, it wasn't an April Fool joke, as I took this opportunity to travel to Sabah, Sandakan. Everything in my life changed all of a sudden, the hustle and bustle of the city turned into a peaceful and undisturbed nature, electronic gadgets change into brooms and basins, virtual events now back into physical activities just like pre-covid.
In these two weeks of volunteering programs, I did attempt to give up in the middle of the program. I did face lots of difficulties, exhausted activities were carried out, the sweat that made my clothes all wet, muddy road in the midway of feeding activities and tons of mosquitoes which turned my arms itchy and uncomfortable. As a city boy, trying to adapt to staying beside the forest isn't an easy task. But luckily, I met staff and interns who shared their experiences, told me interesting stories, and extended their helping hands towards me. Staff and Dr. Wong treated me like a family member in BSBCC. The unsafeness and insecure feeling is thrown far far away. After a few days of the volunteering program, I started to enjoy it.
Whenever I feel exhausted, I think of the bears when they had a clean space to stay everyday. When I feel tired, I feel the freshness brought by nature. Friendly staff and Dr Wong helped me with whatever problems I faced. They taught me lots of bonus knowledge, life hacks, and many more about Sandakan and nature. Well, as a volunteer, I can't fully feel the tiredness of all the staff who take full responsibility and care for the wildlife. The only thing that I can feel is they are one of the heroes to maintain the ecosystem of mother Earth.
I am an 18y/o city boy who came all the way from Penang to Sandakan. I am very glad that BSBCC gave me this one-in-a-life-time opportunity to become a volunteer in BSBCC. I truly appreciate all the help given by the staff and the knowledge taught by them.
BSBCC was invited to the TAME (Tanjung Aru Marine Ecosystem) Exhibition at KK on 16-17 July 2022. The activity included booth exhibition and an interactive talk delivered by Dr. Wong Siew Te himself.
We hope more events like this can be done in the future to spread more awareness to people about our wildlife and nature.