Text by Shelly Smith
Photos by Chiew Lin May
As the BSBCC presently only has 3 outdoor pens large enough to accommodate several bears at the same time, some seriously strategic ‘bear shuffling’ has to occur in the bearhouse in order to get the right bears into the right cages for the outdoor exit ramps.
There are 2 existing groups that need to be integrated so they can occupy one outdoor pen instead of two, freeing up the second outdoor pen for Bermuda, a large mature male who is eagerly awaiting his outdoor sessions.
The two groups are ‘matriarchal’. The’’ Mary’’ group consists of 6 sub adult bears – little Mary, Ah Bui, Debbie, Koko, Bongkud and young male Fulung. 2nd group is Natalie’s group of four, with Natalie, Ah Lun, Runggus and young male Julaini.
Bear etiquette dictates that a polite introduction is by way of curiously sniffing through an interconnecting gateway - if no sign of aggression is seen, then the gateway is opened cautiously by the bear keeper, and one bear may proceed into the adjoining cage where the sniffing procedure progresses to a stage of playful paw inductions. Hereafter it is quite permissible to raucously cavort around the cage and wrestle in the hammock (or other enrichment provided) until one or both bears are completely exhausted. Suckling on a bear’s ears is a privilege for best friends only.
Integration started on the 9th September by daily introducing one bear from Mary’s group to the Natalie group bears, one bear at a time over an hour or so. These introductions over the week went amazingly well with no hint of aggression as each bear learnt the smells, stature and behaviour of the others, in spite of two females being on heat during the process.
However, there came a turning point when the two young males were introduced. All went smoothly at the beginning of the session with 7 of the bears occupying 3 interlinking cages, playing and rough-housing with great abandon. Fulung, the young male from Mary’s group, has a wound that he continuously scratches at and thus it cannot heal. Julaini, the young male from Natalie’s group, curious to see if this could be meat, took a bite, with the ensuing fracas becoming quite violent, and intervention needed.
Lesson learnt! - since then Fulung’s would is treated with medication so he no longer smells like a meal, and all bears taking part in integration sessions are fed copious amounts of fruity treats, so tummies are full and everyone’s content beforehand.
All 10 bears will continue to mingle for a period every day under the watchful eyes of the bear team until they are deemed ‘’suitably merged’’ to enter the outdoor pen together. Bermuda can then finally be moved up the chain of linked cages to the outdoor exit of forest enclosure, and experience the freedom of the natural forest again!
We were lucky enough to have 120 members of the Soka Gakai Malaysia group visit us this weekend. Members of the group were of all ages, from tiny youngsters to seniors, yet they all shared the same enthusiasm for learning about sun bears!
In three different groups of about 40 people, the SGM folks were guided along the forest path and out to the observation deck. Wong, Siew Te lead the happy pack and shared an informational sun bear talk with each group.
There was plenty of action in the bear enclosures, as Fulung, Mary and Bongkud explored the treetops and displayed their fabulous climbing skills! Later, a curious orangutan came over to the observation deck to ‘sneak-a-peak’ at the second group, which led to a quick evacuation and an even more action-packed afternoon.
Members of the SGM were also able to share some time with our knowledgeable bear staff and learn all about our bears, the BSBCC and our future plans for development.
SGM was quite a generous and enthusiastic group for their entire visit by starting the morning with a festively adorned ‘Sun Bear Donations’ box and ending their visit with moon pies and homemade sandwiches for the whole BSBCC team.
Their spirited energy was a refreshing delight for the bear crew, and we hope their visit to the centre was a fruitful experience, full of great sun bear memories for them to share. Thank you for your support SGM!
News Vietnam Net, 16th September 2013
VietNamNet Bridge – Seeing a bear in the cage in his uncle’s home, a five-year-old boy in Phu Tho moved closer to the cage to feed the bear, but his two arms were bitten by the bear.
Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Hung, Head of the Orthopaedics Ward of the National Pediatrics Hospital in Hanoi, said that Hai was hospitalized in the state of losing both arms. The right arm was cut until the shoulder joint while the left arm was lost to the elbow. The boy was in shock because of blood loss.
Doctors immediately conducted blood, intravenous fluid transfusions, anti-shock methods, then cut the bruised flesh. The boy has recovered but he is still in fear.
Taking care of the child at the hospital, the boy’s mother said several days ago, her family paid a visit to her brother’s home. This man bred a bear for gall. The bear was locked in an iron cage. While the adults were busy, they suddenly heard the boy scream. When they came, they saw the boy’s arms were eaten by the bear.
Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Hung said he had never seen any case like this. Previously, the hospital treated some children who lost several knuckles after being bitten by animals in the Hanoi Zoo.
Special Moments with Mary, Ah Bui, Koko, Debbie, Fulung and Bongkud in the BSBCC Forest Enclosure Part III
Text by Chiew Lin May
Photos by Chiew Lin May and Tee Thye Lim
Here are some photos of our sub – adult sun bears, out in the forest enclosure. They love to be by trees and will find activities to occupy their time that will keep them close to the canopy. These include looking for termites, other forest invertebrates, climbing trees, playing together and taking naps. They get on really well, and enjoy playing together. These six sun bears at the forest enclosure is buzzing with cheer and joy. Look what they are doing in the forest enclosure!!
Text and Photos by Chiew Lin May
“Bears keep me humble. They help me to keep the world in perspective and to understand where I fit in the spectrum of life. We need to preserve the wilderness and its monarchs for ourselves, and for the dreams of children. We should fight for these things as if our life depended upon it, because it does.”
- Wayne Lynch (“Bears: Monarchs of Northern Wilderness”, 1993)
Here are the photos of female sun bear cub, Damai. She is now 14 months old. She lives in the rainforest of the island of Borneo, where also home to clouded leopards, orang utans, elephants and rhinos. The bad news is that the main threats to sun bears are habitat loss and followed by hunting for bear parts. Adult females are killed and their infants sold in illegal wildlife pet trade. Action is needed to increase and protect their habitat and species from major threats!!
Find out what BSBCC is doing to help create a future for sun bears. Please help us spread the word and create awareness for sun bears!