Text by Seng Yen Wah
Photos by Chiew Lin May & Seng Yen Wah
Chin is a female adult bear aged 10 years old. She was rescued from Tawau district, located in southeast Sabah. She was kept at a mini located in a primary school, where she was displayed illegally in a small metal cage. She arrived at the BSBCC on the 22nd of July in 2014 from Lok Kawi Wildlife Zoo.
Chin is a curious bear. She is curious about everything that you offer to her. She will happily spend her day exploring. Tearing things, such as coconuts and dead logs, apart is one of the ways she explores. She does not mind getting dirty. Her happiness is seeing a dry cage with some dead logs. She will spend her time rolling on the dry leaves and try to roll the dead logs on her body. She likes to keep the smell of the wood on her, nature’s scent. Chin can nap anywhere such as a hammock, basket or even a branch that is in the right position. Chin can be kept entertained easily with just a simple enrichment that can make her day.
Chin had been integrated with many bears. First, she tried with Cerah and Jelita, Tokob, Susie and Kuamut but they did not seem to get along. So in October 2016, she was introduced to two older bears – Amaco and Gutuk. They interact well and love to play fight together, especially Gutuk. Gutuk is her playmate. She loves to follow what Gutuk was doing. Gutuk loves to lie on the ground and enjoy the temperature and Chin would copy whatever Gutuk did. They are such good bear friends! However, Gutuk passed away on the 22nd of July, 2017. She seemed different after Gutuk left her alone. Her face looked sad and she clearly misses her best friend. However, Chin is using Gutuk’s memories to move on with her life and be a better her!
In January 2015, Chin took her first steps out into the forest. She enjoys every moment in the forest such as digging, foraging, resting, and napping. She loves to explore every corner of the forest enclosure, where everything seems interesting to her! In October 2017, she once again stepped out into the forest with a different forest enclosure. She enjoys when the sunlight is shining on her body. There is a small natural pool that is ready for her when she is finished sunbathing. She likes to splash water on her body or soak in the water to reduce the feeling of sweltering heat.
Chin may look like a heavy and grumpy bear but she is actually gentle and friendly. She does have a hot temper, but she is the bear who enjoys every single moment. It is never too late to protect a bear like Chin. They deserve more than that! The forest is their home! Sun bears are a ‘Totally Protected’ species under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 which means those who hunt sun bears will be fined RM100,000, or jailed 10 years, or both. Share the awareness and spread the word. Sun bears need more attention to get more protection!