Text by Jonas Bolin
Photos by Chiew Lin May & Seng Yen Wah
My name is Jonas Bolin and I am 18 years old and live in Sweden. I am right now studying to become an animal keeper and will graduate this spring. I was one of the lucky few to get the opportunity to do my internship at bsbcc which I am so grateful for. This trip was going to be the biggest adventure of my life and I could not be more excited about it. However, this was one of the most incredible journeys I have ever imagined and I was planning to gather so much experience.
I am right now at the end of my internship at bsbcc which of course is very sad, but when I look back at my time here I could not resist to smile. These five weeks has been so incredible and I have earned more experience than I could imagine. However, the first two weeks was mostly focused of learning the routines for me. It is always so many new things to learn wherever you go and when they told me to learn all the bears names and identify them I thought they were crazy. I thought it would be hard enough to learn the names of the staff. But after the first two weeks I started to learn all the different behaviours and the characteristic things among the bears, which was a pretty cool feeling if you ask me. But all this was thanks to all the keepers that had patience with me and told me that we learn by mistakes which made me try until I succeeded. It is so inspiring to see all these hard working people and see how much they care for Sun bears. They have taught me a lot about Sun bears and its importance to the ecosystem here in Borneo and what we have to do to make sure they can survive in the wild. I cannot thank these guys enough and I wish them the best of luck in the future because they are some of the best people I have met in my hole life. One moment I will remember for a long time is meeting the founder of bsbcc Dr. Wong Siew Te. He is such an inspiring man who care so much for the animals and their environment. I have a feeling that he has started something big that will lead to a new level of animal caretaking in many places of the world.
So during my weeks I have as I said gathered so much experience. I have so much work experience which I will bring me for my whole life and my future carer. What is more is that I have gathered even more life experience during this trip which has made me a new person, I can handle so much more than I thought before. I will use all this experience my whole life and make sure to always remember this adventure. But most of all I will remember all the friends I have found down here, even if we cannot make sure that we will see each other again I will always have them in my mind. Of course I will miss the bears as well and they will always have a special place in my heart.
So this adventure was not what I was expecting, it was so much better. I will therefor thank BCBCC and APE Malaysia for making this dream come true. I will miss everything so much and I am really looking forward to see what this centre can become in 10 more years.
// Jonas Bolin