We are delighted to welcome a group of members of Harley Davidson for the visit today. They were given an introduction to Sun Bears and the BSBCC's efforts at conserving them by our founder Dr. Wong Siew Te, followed by a guided tour to the observation platform to observe the rescued Sun Bears in the natural forest enclosures.
We would like to say thank you to them for adopting our 2 rescued Sun Bears - Fulung and Joe, and also the donation of bananas and honey! We hope they had a great time here and gained some new knowledge about Sun Bears, while helping us to spread awareness by sharing experiences with their friends and family!
Once again, thanks for coming to visit us, and your kind donation and adoption!
Text by Sarah Ilsley
Photos by Jude Ailton George & Jacquelyn Jill Jepiuh
I came to BSBCC through the recommendation of one of my college tutors, Katie, as she knew I wanted to do some travelling in Borneo following a cancelled trip back in 2020 due to the pandemic. As well as getting more experience working with animals following my internship at Chester Zoo in summer 2021.
I will be forever grateful to her as well as the staff here at BSBCC and APE Malaysia for making this all possible because this has quite literally been a dream come true and at times, I still can’t comprehend that I’m finally here after four years and am devastated I have to leave!
I was initially quite nervous as I was eager to make a good impression as well as it being the furthest I’ve been from home in the UK, but I had absolutely nothing to worry about and I cannot express how lovely, welcoming and patient everyone has been here at the Centre and it has truly meant a lot to me.
These two weeks really have flown by and although it’s been hard work, I have loved every moment; learning about sun bear husbandry/care and the species in general, as they are one of the biggest mammals I’ve worked with so far, through practical husbandry tasks, helping with a health check (where I was able to clean a bears paw!!) as well as well as having the pleasure to chat to Dr.Wong and Pradeep several times where I have been able to get some realistic and valuable career advice.
I have also had opportunities to experience other wildlife this island has to offer through river cruises and rainforest night walks where I’ve managed to see and animals that I have only loved from afar in documentaries and photos on the internet- it’s truly been incredible.
All of this is an experience I will hold close forever and have loved so much so, I can’t quite put it into words.
Text and Photos by Jacquelyn Jill Jepiuh
Our four bears – Kipaku, Betung, Itam and Kukuton – have been going through fence training these past few months and it has been a new, challenging and slightly scary experience for them. We first started with the super naughty Itam. It was to no one’s surprise that she would get zapped by the fence as she would be so curious of her surroundings that she would get too close to the fence. She was scared for a while till we joined her up with her ‘Knight in shining armor’ – Kipaku.
Kipaku’s fence training experience was similar to Itam’s whereby he was also zapped by the fence from being too curious! Both Kipaku and Itam were so scared to go out individually but when we let both of them go out together, this boosted their confidence to explore and learn from each other. Eventually, these two mischievous bears were the first to learn that they shouldn’t get too close to the fence!
Itam and Kipaku's behaviour shows that they are weary of the fence and would carefully try to take the banana closest to the electric wire. Smart Itam was able to cautiously grab a banana and bring it back into the cage to eat.
Betung and Kukuton were a little slower with passing their fence training as both had unpleasant experiences with the electric fence. When they touched the electric wire, both got zapped and decided to climb up the fence. They got stuck on top of the fence, too scared to come down! During Betung’s fence training session, she eventually was able to conjure up the courage to come down herself. However, Kukuton was too scared to come down at all and our Bear care team had to step in to help him down. Since then, he is weary to exit his cage but day by day since the incident there has been some good progression. Betung has managed to overcome her fear and is quite comfortable with her surroundings and also recognizes the fence to be dangerous.
Our Bear Care team have also been working very hard to finish the Forest enclosure maintenance for our bears to be released back into the forest. It is very important for us to maintain the electric fence surrounding our forest enclosures as a barrier of safety for our bears and for us humans. The electric fence also helps to protect some of the trees from damage by our bears as well. Our team does a fence check daily to ensure that the wires are working well and will carry out maintenance such as clearing the overgrown plants and repairing any wires that may be faulty.
We would like to give a huge thank you to Hasanah Foundation for their continuous contribution towards our enclosure maintenance. With this we are able to continue our rehabilitation efforts to release Kipaku, Itam, Kukuton and Betung back into a forest enclosure where they truly belong.
BSBCC received another visit from 42 kindergarten students, accompanying 4 teachers and parents of Tadika Kg. Gelam today. The students were first briefed on the safety rules before to the bear observation platforms. Guided tour was also given to the group with the help of information boards alongside our centre's boardwalk. The group seems to be very happy to be able to see sun bears in their forest enclosures and quite eager to learn about them too. Thanks again for visiting BSBCC, and hope to see you guys again!