Text by Seng Yen Wah
Photos by Chiew Lin May & Seng Yen Wah
Wawa is a 11 months old female bear. She was found alone in the Forest Management Unit (FMU) 16, Pinangah, Telupid District on March 11st, 2016. She was surrendered to the Sabah Wildlife Department and sent to the Lok Kawi Wildlife Zoo after that. She arrived at BSBCC on March 18th, 2016. She appeared weak and showed signs of dehydration when she arrived.
Dodop is a one year old female bear. She came to the SBCC on June 2nd, 2016. The Sabah Wildlife Department rescued her from being kept as house pet in a Singgaron village in Ranau district. She had been found with missing all of her milk teeth. But now her permanent teeth have grown into strong and sharp canines.
Both of them have been growing well in quarantine. So, now is the time for them to meet their big brothers and sisters in bear house. They had to undergo a general health check by Dr. Pakeeyaraj Nagalingam, a veterinarian from Sabah Wildlife Department, Wildlife Rescue Unit first. Both of them had been proven healthy. Their new friends could not wait to meet them and gave their greatest welcoming bark to them.
Before Dodop and Wawa moved to bear house, bear keepers prepared lots of enrichment for them. They not only build a platform and a hammock to provide them a resting place, but they also went to collect dry leaves and decayed wood. This is because Wawa is a playful bear. She likes to spend her time with enrichment. So, bear keepers placed different kinds of enrichment items inside the cages to help them adapt to their new environment. For the first day, Wawa seems alert to the surroundings. But thanks to the enrichment, they had adapted well into the bear house after the second day. They spend their time exploring the environment and the enrichment together.
The next for them is to integrate with the biggest group, the sub adult group with Sunbearo, Loki, Bintang, Montom, Susie2, Damai, Kala, Boboi, Kitud, Tan Tan and Mary. They are around one to five years old. After the integration, they have to undergo fence training to be able to release them back to the forest. In the forest, they can learn from the others and improve their survival skills as well. At last, we hope they can be back to the wild sooner or later within the rehabilitation program at the BSBCC.
We welcome all school visits and organisations to our Centre. On the 3rd September 2016, we received our first school visit of the month. A group of kindergarten kids from Tadika Al-Hakim, Sandakan came to our Centre together with their parents and teachers. A total of 608 people from different schools and
organisations visited our Centre from September to October 2016.
Both students and teachers were given a short introduction on sun bears by one of our Education Team members and later they were brought to the observation platforms to see the bears roaming in the forest enclosure. The children together with their parents and teachers enjoyed their time at our Centre learning about sun bears and the environment. We were glad to share our knowledge on sun bears with them as we believe that environmental education can connect us to the world around us. As well as this, it can help us explore environmental issues and most importantly take action to improve the environment.
BSBCC education team has been sharing their knowledge on sun bears for the past four years. Not only to kindergarten children but also to senior citizens, locals and
Text by Chiew Lin May
Photos by Seng Yen Wah & Chiew Lin May
He was surrendered by a villager and was found roaming alone at a villager’s orchard with his mother nowhere to be seen. Noah was handed-over to the Sabah Wildlife Department from Nabawan, a southern part of Sabah, and brought into the BSBCC on the 10th of October, 2016. We have named him “Noah”. We are unsure as to why he was found alone, he may have been abandoned, or his mother may have been killed by poachers. Noah was nervous, alert and timid at first sight during the arrival.
On the 10th of October 2016, Dr. Pakeeyaraj Nagalingam from the Wildlife Rescue Unit of Sabah Wildlife Department, performed a general health check. This included an assessment of his overall health, potential sickness, function of the internal organs and physical condition. During the health check, it was found that Noah’s four milk canines had been crushed off. Because of their small and cuddly appearance, sun bears are used in illegal pet trade. This is common with captive sun bears to prevent them from causing injuries and they are easy to handle. As a pet, he suffered from loneliness, rotting teeth, and malnutrition due to improper diet and care. Little Noah nearly lost everything – just because someone was greedy.
Noah is responding well to treatment. He has been receiving a proper diet and has a big appetite which has increased his body weight. He absolutely loves milk, banana, papaya and honey which ends up being a mouthful! Noah spends hours trying his best to get every drop of delicious honey out of the enrichment logs. As soon as he smells the food, he will quickly descend to find it. He will get involved in various types of enrichment to strengthen his muscles and senses. He is mischievous and prefers wrestles with his care taker. He continues to be as playful as ever!!
One of the BSBCC's missions is to give rescued bears lifelong loving care. The bears are reintroduced to their natural habitat. A huge thanks to the Sabah Wildlife Department who rescued and bought Little Noah to BSBCC. We will provide the best care possible through the rehabilitation process, so someday he can return to the wild. After completing the quarantine phase, Noah will embark on his new life. Little Noah will follow a process of gradual adaptation in the forest till he becomes an independent wild bear, then he will get this unique chance to return to the forest home he was once stolen from. We will take all appropriate steps to ensure that Noah makes a smooth transition into life as a wild sun bear.
We are confident that he will continue to practice the skills needed to survive as a wild sun bear in the future. Noah will spend his days learning new and vital skills in the forest canopy. We cannot wait for the day when Noah is roaming free back in the forest where he belongs.
BSBCC received an invitation to join the Pre-school Education Carnival in SK Bandar Sandakan on 8th October 2016. Approximately 600 students and 300 teachers from all schools in Sandakan have joined in this Carnival. The students were excited and eager to learn more about the sun bears. BSBCC team set up display booths at the school. This helped to share our stories about wildlife even better, especially for the students to understand more about the importance to conserve them.
Our sun bear mascot, Sunny was also present to help the kids understand about the physical characteristics of a sun bear.
We were very happy to have chance to share the interesting facts about our wildlife to the students! All of the students enjoyed their time learning about the environment and wildlife species through exhibitions. We hope that they can gain more knowledge on the importance of protecting the environment and our precious wildlifespecies. A big thank you to SK Bandar primary school for inviting us.
On the 29th September 2016, Dr. Wong Siew Te Founder and CEO at Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre received the Honorary Doctorate award at University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) graduation ceremony.
Wong studied wildlife biology at University of Montana and spends most of his time in Southeast Asia doing research and conservation work to raise awareness of threatened species. In 2008, he founded Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) in Sandakan, Sabah.
Dr. Wong Siew Te has been conferred the USC Honorary Doctorate because of his
passion and countless efforts towards wildlife conservation, which contributed outstanding services in his conservation work. Dr. Wong said USC students had played an important role in BSBCC achievements. We hope that the partnership
between USC and BSBCC can continue to benefit both institutions.