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Text by Shauna Tay, Photos Siew Te Wong
Natalie, our baby of the centre, is becoming our wildest. Being a young cub, she is somewhat controllable when taking her outdoors. We are able to walk side by side with her into any patch of forest and let her do her thing. She’s now become so confident in climbing and foraging that it makes you realise how wild these bears are meant be.
She’s improved with each time I’ve seen her out. Wai Pak and Paul had said that previously when they took her out she just wanted to play and interact with them. However now she doesn’t take any notice of us. She shoots up trees and climbs to the very top with all her strength.
It was amazing watching this 6 month old sun bear sync in with her wild instincts and naturally make her way up the trees and branches. She knew that clawing at rotting wood would find her termites, and that climbing higher up a tree would find her new sights and smells she hadn’t encountered before.
Although we can see she knows what to do in her habitat, it doesn’t erase the fact that she needs her mother. Sun bear cubs usually stay with their mothers until they are 2 years old. Now, this 6 month baby cub has no mother, and probably doesn’t remember much about ever having one. It makes you sad thinking about how she could be out in the wild with her mother if it weren’t for hunters and poachers. This is the harsh world we live in.
While working against that, we have hope for these bears. They’ve lived hard, unnatural lives, but with BSBCC’s dedication we hope they’ll soon be able to have that life they’re meant to live.