The Sun Bear Explorer Program book has been produced to support learning about sun bears, their habitat and the importance to protect them from their threats. This will aid in teaching materials for the education team to carry out activities for group visits and during outreach programmes.
The book project was initiated and designed by Dr. Dawn Tanner from theUniversity of Minnesota, in collaboration with Dr. Wong Siew Te, BSBCC CEO and Founder and translation assistance for the Malay version from Risnayati Lammu, BSBCC's Education Officer.
Thanks to the Minnesota Zoo Foundation and GEF Small Grants Programme for the funding support and everyone involved to make this book possible.
Check out the complete book on our
(http://www.bsbcc.org.my/resources.html) for free download!
Text and Photos by Seng Yen Wah
Nano is a two years old sub-adult male bear. He was sent to the BSBCC on the 20th of November, 2016. A lady decided to rescue Nano when she saw Nano was kept in a small chicken mesh cage in Kota Marudu, north of Sabah. She purchased him from the seller for a price of RM1,500, with the purpose of saving his life. Nano was surrendered to the Sabah Wildlife Department and sent to the BSBCC after that.
He showed aggressive, alert and stressed behaviour when he first arrived. Besides that, he was found underweight, just weighing 9.7 kg. He paced a lot especially when he got stressed. This was due to psychological trauma that he had suffered and it caused stereotypical behavior. Actually, Nano is a very shy and quiet bear. He enjoys staying to himself. If somebody tries to disturb him, he would give a warning and barks or growls. He likes to rest on a towel. He feels safer staying alone and preferably in dark. Nano just finished his quarantine. But, he is still taking his time adapting. Now, he weighs 11kg. His favourite foods are banana and egg!
We did not know what exactly happened to him for the past two years. But, we believed he was kept as a house pet before. People might think sun bears are cute when they are still a cub. So, people insist on keeping them as a pet. But they never think about the consequences resulting from keeping them in a small cage or feeding them with the wrong diet. The mistreatment of the owner will not only cause sun bears having some relevant health problem like dehydration, and malnutrition but also the psychological trauma can cause stress-related behaviour. The trauma implies their future life. So, Please stop doing that for sun bears!
Nano has suffered a lot. The best enrichment for a bear is another bear. So, we plan to find Nano a friend for accompanying him. The integration of Nano with others can help him to learn more survival skills from his new friends along with helping him to reduce his stress as well. We hope Nano can leave his traumatic early life behind and be happy and gain his confidence at the BSBCC.
The International Eco-School Conference is an international initiative designed to guide schools in implementing a whole- school approach towards environmental and sustainability education. WWF invites schools from different places to join the Eco-schools Program. The conference participated by more than 100 students and 25 teachers from 27 schools across Malaysia and Thailand.
This Program was held in the Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC) , Sepilok Sabah on 13th – 17th December 2016. The activities included educational trips to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre (SOURC), Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) and Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey.
The International Eco-School Conference 2016 was officially started with keynote speech by field experts and Eco-School presentations. Dr. Wong Siew Te (Founder and CEO at BSBCC) was also invited to give his talk at the conference. The talk from Dr. Wong is about wildlife and tourism in the forest ecosystem. Wildlife and tourism are important resources and forests are seen to have a significant role for tourism. The talk was great and really useful, hopefully the participants will gain interest and knowledge about the importance of conserving our forest as wildlife habitat which contributes to the economy to the country.
BSBCC was part of this program on the 14th-15th December. The education team had prepared a few activities for the students. The students had a presentation on sun bears and our Centre, they were then asked to complete some activities and answer quiz questions based on the information given to them and their own ideas.
After they had completed their tasks, we went through and talked about the answers together. The students enjoyed their activities and we look forward for more exciting activities on next International Eco-School Program.
Nowadays, environmental education is becoming more important in increasing public awareness and knowledge about environmental issues. It provides the public with the necessary skills especially in decision making and taking responsible actions to keep the environment protected. We welcome all school groups and organizations to our Centre to learn about conserving the sun bears and their habitat.BSBCC received 14 group visits in November and December. As usual, they were given a brief presentation from our staff about sun bears and BSBCC's roles & efforts.
After that, they went up to the observation platforms to watch the bears roaming in the forest. It was interesting to watch the students amazed and happy to see the bears especially those who never seen them before. We believe that environmental education is vital and can help to further conserve the sun bears. We were glad that the students had a great time in our Centre and we hope that they learned more about sun bears and their environment, and help us spread the word!
Text by Seng Yen Wah
Photos by Chiew Lin May & Seng Yen Wah
Dodop and Wawa, both one year old female juvenile bears. They have a different story to tell how they arrived to BSBCC. Dodop was rescued by the Sabah Wildlife Department from being kept as pet in a Singgaron village in Ranau district. Her milk teeth had been found missing but now her permanent teeth have grown well. On the other hand, Wawa was surrendered to the Sabah Wildlife Department. She was found in the Forest Management Unit (FMU) 16, Pinangah in Telupid District. They stayed together in quarantine and moved to bear house on 10th of October 2016.
Dodop and Wawa adapted well in the bear house. Due to the capacity of the bear house being limited, Dodop and Wawa were integrated with our sub-adult group. The sub-adult group is consists of 11 bears: Sunbearo, Loki, Bintang, Montom, Susie2, Damai, Mary, Kala, Boboi, Kitud and Tan Tan. Limited capacity is not the only reason to integrate bears, integration can help bears to reduce their stress related behavior and they can learn pertinent skills from each other such as survival skills and defense skills. Wawa is a friendly bear. She likes to be friends with others by initiating play fights. Compared with Wawa, Dodop is very shy. But, everyone likes to approach her. The sub-adult group liked both Dodop and Wawa. They stay, they play and they sleep together now.
Fence training is a must before the bears are allowed out to the forest enclosure. This is because all the forest enclosures are surrounded by hot wires in high voltage. Having hot wires prevent the bears from escaping the forest enclosure. And hence, the fence training is a learning process for the bears in order to let them know the hot wire will cause them pain if they touch on it. Fence training could be a long period or short period training because it varies with different bears since they have different personalities.
Dodop and Wawa are fast learners. Even though, they had a bad experiences for the first day of the fence training; both were zapped for few times in the first day, because they climbed the fence. When they panicked, they climbed up higher but they did not know that there still were more hot wires waiting for them. When the bear keeper realized they climbed to the electric fence, the keepers did switch off the fence immediately and waited for them to climb down, just switch on the fence again. After they got zapped, they barked and ran back into the buffer cage. After that, their fence training turned negative. So, we tried to introduce Dodop and Wawa with their friends and let them go to the fence training together. This showed positive results. They entered the training pen again lead by their friends. After few weeks, finally Dodop and Wawa passed their fence training! They took the food by using their claws and without getting zapped by hot wires anymore.
On 17th November, 2016, it was a sunny day. And, it was a good day for Dodop and Wawa going out from the cage. Once the guillotine door opened, they apparently felt curious about the world behind the door. They were sniffing the forest scents and keep looking outside, the new environment! And, Wawa took her very first and brave step to step on the ground. Once she touched on the ground, she could not wait to explore everything inside the forest enclosure. She has since proven that she is the explorer! Just in one afternoon, she explored the whole forest enclosure and she met her friend, Boboi, Kitud and TanTan. They were sharing a coconut as well. After that, they were playing and exploring together, it is so lovely!
Dodop is not like Wawa. She took some time to come out from the cage. She keeps looking outside when Wawa was having fun with others. So, she put her four paws on the ramp and kept looking around to find a good ways to touch on ground. She really does not like to step on the muddy area. She was trying hard and finally she went out to the forest enclosure. And, Wawa was waiting for her to explore the forest enclosure together. Their release to the forest enclosure is the chance for them to learn more from their friends. Not only for Dodop and Wawa but for every bear, the BSBCC has a dream that sun bears can be given back to the wild again. We at the BSBCC really hope to help for dreams to come true.