Photos by Jocelyn Stokes
Text & Photo by Jocelyn Stokes
Yesterday, while playful Suria was chewing on a stick or two, the BSBCC crew was busy re-cementing the floor of the larger enclosure. Although, she doesn't know it yet, Suria will soon be moved back into the large activity area where she will have quadruple the space to roam and play. The problem began when the bears started to dig up the cement flooring, which injured the padding on their paws. Suria had to be quarantined briefly to prevent further injury while the floor was repaired. Now, we are all excited to see her moved back in!
Further excitement is also spreading with the steady progress of the new bear centre roof. The construction workers have been diligently preparing for this task and are now busy realizing the completion of the new ceiling. Also being laid, currently, are the first bricks of the new centre. Great work everyone!
Text by MUGUNTAN VANAR
KOTA KINABALU: American animal expert Jack Hanna, popularly known as “Jungle Jack” is in Malaysia for a television shoot of the wild.
The 62-year-old is in Sabah to film orang utans, sunbears, proboscis monkeys and pygmy elephants in the wilds of Borneo for his entertainment and educational television show “Jack Hanna’s Into The Wild.”
Hanna and his crew will also be heading towards Sarawak and peninsular Malaysia during his two-week trip to Malaysia and Singapore for at least four 30-minute television series.
Invited by Tourism Malaysia, Hanna told reporters here that the great apes and elephants had always fascinated him and that it was the first time he was doing a show on orang utan and the Borneo pygmy elephants.
‘’I have always wanted to come to Malaysia but my tight schedules around the world delayed me. I am really excited to be here in Borneo,” said Hanna who has been hosting educational animal shows for the last 43 years.
In Sabah, he will focus on the Sandakan Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, Sunbear Conservation, Guamuntong caves, Kinabatangan and Labuk Bay before leaving for Kuching where he will focus on the Sarawak Cultural Village and Bakun National Park.
He will briefly visit Singapore before heading to Batu Caves and Kuala Gandar Elephant Sanctuary in the peninsula.
“Our show is about people, culture and animals,” said Hanna whose shows reach 98% of the audience in the United States.
He is a regular guest in Good Morning America, Larry King Live, The Late Show with David Letterman and Fox News Programmes.
Hanna, who stresses on respecting animals in their habitats, the theme of his series were to educate people on the various animals as it was a foundation towards conservation efforts.
“When I say respect animals, I mean you should just leave them to do what they are doing in their habitat and not disturb or provoke them,” he added.
Hanna said that his company allowed the host country to get rights to use his films for their respective promotions.
Text: by Billy Dunn
Photos: by Billy Dunn and Ian Hall
he construction of the biogas digester at the new Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sepilok took a bit of time to get running and underway but after ten days of hard building, pumping, lifting, grafting, sweating, itching, bleeding, plastering, twisting, bending and cutting, it was an impressive achievement thanks to the volunteers from Camps International.
When complete the biogas digester will turn bear dung into methane gas that can be used to cook the bears’ daily meal of rice. After arriving in Sepilok the initial tasks facing the group were not too exciting or enjoyable but hard labour and exhausting work! We started by moving 1500 bricks from outside to inside the site, which involved a lot of timber planks, deep clay resembling a battlefield full of water and wheelbarrows with punctured wheels…not a good combination for moving bricks!
To follow, the excavated location on site for the digester was full of water. After trying to convince the girls that bailing the water out with buckets all day was the only solution, the contractors, having seen their faces, gladly lent us their pump and the water was gone soon enough.
Once the site was clean and dry, the concrete platform was revealed beneath the water and leaves. We then moved a third of the bricks down our own hand made steps, carved out from the clay, and into the centre of the circle, only to realise that the centre of the circle was actually required to draw and mark out the circular footprint for the bricks! After a brief re-location, to the girl’s delight of course, we laid out the first course. With a quick lesson in the art of bricklaying by leader Howard, we quickly learnt that bricklaying was indeed an art and not as easy as maybe expected previously!
Photos and text by Jocelyn Stokes
Over here at the centre the bear crew can’t help but take a keen liking to a trio of young sun bears who may have actually been acrobats in a past life. While one is hanging upside down from the ceiling with its head arched back and legs flailing in the air, another will be swinging though the air in a tire, whilst the other is usually balancing stealthily in the corner, arms straight up, or perhaps tearing open a coconut. They’re a regular riot to observe with their overflowing abundance of character and youthful antics! Deemed the ‘three amigos’ by a troupe of loyal volunteers from New Zealand, these three bears, Jelita, Lawa and Cerah, truly delight in each other’s company. “The reason they get along so well,” explains Wai Pak, the onsite Educational Officer, “is because they are so young. At their age they need playmates. They all happen to be the same age, as well, and they have grown up in captivity, so they are particularly fond of each other!”
bear1.pdf bear-2a.pdf bear-3.pdf
This is a new article that I wrote for Society & Environment-A monthly magazine published by Zayed International Prize for the Environment (www.zayedprize.org.ae) what base in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It was published in the July 2009 issue. Special thanks to Ms Seema Sangra, the Editor and the Art Director of the magazine for publishing this sun bear article.
Text by Jocelyn Stokes
As my plane landed on that grassy runway, I looked out the windows to see banana trees surrounding rustic village huts and noted quite emphatically to myself,
"I am in Borneo!"
Wai pak and Billy met me just outside the Sandakan airport gates with warm, friendly smiles and swooped me off to the local market and clinic for a brief health check. The visit to the clinic is quite mandatory, I have discovered, when working in such close proximity to the protected wildlife. Wai Pak is the most qualified member of the SSBCC staff that is currently residing in Sabah. He has a great knowledge of the centre and an admirable fatherly relationship to the bears. Billy is the architect's assistant who is also deeply interested in the welfare of the bears, along with the design and construction of the new bear centre. I have taken the role of not only the onsite conservationist photojournalist, but also the very first official BSBCC volunteer. It's a very exciting time for the BSBCC. Phase 1 of construction for the new centre is in full swing. I feel privileged to be here to witness the great changes that are occurring.
Text by Ng Wai Pak
Recently a friend and supporter of BSBCC went to visit the Victory Mini Zoo Farm in Papart, Kudat in the Northern Region of Borneo, and he was shocked by what he found. Apparently the Zoo was advertising that they had a Panda Bear but instead it was 2 Malayan Sun Bears, which are Totally Protected under Sabah’s Wildlife Conservation Enactment. The rationale for incorrectly identifying the bears is unclear—they may be using the name Panda to attract visitors or they could be mistaken about the type of Bear that they are housing. Either way, this error is misleading and embarrassing and unfortunately indicates that the Zoo management know very little about the wildlife that they are responsible for, which is a scary indicator of the level of treatment that the animals are receiving.