Text and Photos by Chiew Lin May
Huge thanks to Balai Bomba Dan Penyelamat Sandakan with the help of Ketua Balai Bomba, Tuan Jimmy Lagung and his team for donating fire hoses to sun bears!! Fire hose provides wonderful enrichment to sun bears! We will going to making difference types of fire hose enrichment for the bears to enjoy!
They have a fire hose pocket for digging, bear balls to play with, honey comb to promoting naturalistic behaviours, simple braided browser for swing, hammock made a great support for laying and SO much more!
The bears bark a big thanks for the new gift and making their day special!
What can we possibly make with this fire hose - lets see lot of cute pictures!
We would like to thank 1Utama Shopping Centre for supporting BSBCC again this year with a donation of RM10,000 collected through their "Feed the Fish" programme at the Rainforest section in the shopping mall.
Several signs about sun bears were also installed since 3 years ago at the Rainforest section to raise awareness on sun bears among shoppers.
Thanks for helping us make a difference in the lives of sun bears at BSBCC!
Lawa has been thriving since she was rescued. She is eager to show that her world is in the forest! Lawa is an agile and cheerful sun bear. She is become excellent in foraging, digging for grubs, sniffing out bee hives, climbing trees and building a tree nest on her own. It makes you realize how wild these sun bears are meant be.
With her strong natural instincts and mastered all the survival skills, Lawa will soon be a great candidate to release in the wild. Please help us to make Lawa’s freedom possible and give her a future where she belongs! Your support is vital to us. We cannot do it without you!
Here is the site just specify for Lawa gofundme campaign.
Your donation is much appreciated!
Text by Gloria Ganang & photo by Tee Thye Lim & Tommy Johnny
The sun bears at BSBCC had a great day playing with enrichments made by the students of South Island School, Hong Kong when they visited the Centre on the 8th October 2013. Being in Borneo for the first time, the students are curious about this least known bear species. They get to learn more detail about the sun bears behavior by making observations on the sun bears in their enclosures.
A total of 21 students with 3 teachers spread around the observation platform, spotted a particular bear and observed their behavior. They were enthusiast to make fun toys or enrichments for the sun bears as soon as they had seen them. Enrichments were made using materials as natural as possible such as spiral ginger leaves, bamboo, fruits, vegetables, hessian sacks and banana leaves. Check out these kids cramping their heads constructing toys for the sun bears!
Apart from making toys for the sun bears, the students also handed some donations for the sun bears!
The students definitely spent a great time with the bears. Thanks to enthusiastic and passionate team from Ape Malaysia (http://apemalaysia.com/) for taking these awesome kids to visit the Centre!
Monday February 25, 2013
By LIM CHIA YING
ARMED with nothing more than a spunky heart and a genuine concern for animal welfare, two friends braved the icy waters at an annual dip event to raise funds for Bornean sun bears.
Katie McDonald and Anna Marie Zarb, who both hail from England, participated in the New Year’s Day Loony Dook challenge held at Scotland’s Firth of Forth, the estuary in which River Forth meets the North Sea.
The event drew participants, both young and old, who took a leap of faith by plunging into the icy depths of the firth as a novel way of celebrating the New Year.
A conversation between two pals over drinks during Christmas break in 1986 sparked off the idea after one of them suggested dipping in the firth to clear their hangovers! When more friends took to the idea, Loony Dook was thus born, and is now celebrated in a much more boisterous manner than in the past.
People come from around the world to join in or be a spectator, and over time, the participants have also made the dip a fundraiser for charities of their choice. Part of the fun lies in some of the bizzare costumes that participants don.
To reflect the charity they picked – the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sabah, Malaysia – McDonald and Zarb made online purchases of outfits which they later modified to look like that of a sun bear with its unique yellow chest patch.
So what motivated McDonald and Zarb to raise funds for an NGO that is nearly halfway around the globe from their home country?
“I was in Malaysia for a few years and saw that it is such a beautiful country. There’s such an amazing biodiversity, but the ecosystem is fragile and many of the animals are threatened,” said McDonald, 28, in an e-mail interview.
“During my stint in Malaysia, I worked closely with a number of wildlife and conservation-related organisations. It was tough having to single out one particular project to raise funds for. I felt that the work carried out at Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre covered a lot of important areas which included animal welfare, wildlife rehabilitation, habitat preservation, public education and research. I also like the idea of bringing awareness of tropical animals and conservation to a different part of the world.”
For Zarb, 34, the plight of animals is a subject close to her heart, and she is happy to help any animal charity, regardless of its location.
Both women are currently pursuing a Masters of Science in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare at the Edinburgh University, which was how they met.
“Loony Dook is a part of Hogmanay (a uniquely Scottish New Year celebration that dates back to olden times) and certainly seems like fun!” said Zarb.
On the day of the event, the weather was sunny. Despite that, they could still feel the chill while waiting for their turn to jump in.
“We had no idea what the water temperature would be like, only that it would be cold! The thought of a good cause helped us overcome the temperature anxiety!” said McDonald.
“Anna decided that the best strategy was to scream and run in, so that was what we did and after a few seconds, we kind of lost feeling anyway! All around, there were stewards from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution stopping people from going too deep as a safety measure,” said McDonald.
The duo stayed in the water for a couple of minutes, accompanied by a quick swim.
“At the end of the day, we know that it’s BSBCC and the sun bears that are benefiting, so it was worth braving the cold!” added McDonald.
In mid-December, she had put up a posting on a social networking site to share what she was doing, to raise a targeted sum of £200.
“We wanted to raise greater awareness about sun bears in the hope that more people would think about them and find out more about this little known but fascinating animal,” said McDonald.
“I have visited the centre several times as I used to work for a company which brought groups of school kids to Sabah.
“One of the projects we undertook was making enrichment toys for the bears; we learnt about their natural behaviour and the ecology of the species. All the centre’s personnel were so supportive of the students. They were happy to share their knowledge and passion for sun bears.
“The centre’s founder, Wong Siew Te, is a leading expert, yet he always has time to spend with visitors and share everything he knows about sun bears, the smallest among eight bear species. It’s a fantastic centre and a great place to learn about sun bears and conservation,” said McDonald, who recently helped to raise funds for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, as well as Save the Children, a global organisation working to help children get access to food, education, healthcare and human rights.
To learn more about the sun bears, visit the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre homepage at www.bsbcc.org.my/.
Text and photo by Tee Thye Lim
"Is the Koala a bear species?''
Asked our Project Manager, Wai Pak to the primary school students of SK. St. Gabriel who visited our centre on the 23 Oct 2012.
"Yes, because it looks like a bear!''
A little girl raised up her hand and answered.
"No! Koala is not a bear!"
A little boy refuted from the opposite side. The argument continued for about 3 minutes until Wai Pak announced the answer.
"No, Koala is not a bear species, it is a type of the Marsupial, same family with the kangaroos" said Wai Pak.
Most of the kids have an idea of a sun bear. They've seen it on TV programmes, perhaps on the internet, however not in a natural environment.
Some of them also mentioned about the local TV programme, TV3 which aired a documentary about BSBCC last week end: <Sunshine in Sepilok: Tales of the Bornean Sun Bears>
Later, knowing that they were about to see real, life Bornean sun bears, the smallest among the smallest of the bears in the world, the kids couldn't wait.
The SK St. Gabriel students at first did not see the Sun Bears roaming at the visible spot.
Fortunately, they were able to join the second group of visitors on that day which was the students of the American International School of Hong Kong, guided by the Animal Projects & Environmental Education (APE) Malaysia team.
This time everyone was able to spot the sun bears. More excitingly, sun bears climbing the trees!
At the end of the visit, SK. St. Gabriel presented a drawing to BSBCC. It was inspiring! Thank you so much!
Also, many thanks to APE Malaysia team for your donations! Not forgetting the hessian sacks you brought us. The bears will definitely love rubbing themselves on them!
Lastly and most importantly, thank you for sparing time and efforts to visit our Centre. It was such a great opportunity for us to share the needs of this small small bear species!
Text by Gloria Ganang and photos by Thye Lim and Ade Kurniawan
Yesterday was another meaningful day at the BSBCC. We had an educatonal visit from a group of teens from the Anglo Chinese School Independent (ACSI), Singapore. They consist of 23 students of the age 17-18 years old, accompanied by 2 teachers. The visit was organized by the Animal Project & Environmental Education (APE) Malaysia to give the students an experience about animal conservation. The teens get to involve in hands on activities of the sun bear rehabilitation process which consists of doing pre enrichment and post enrichment behavioral observation on the sun bears at the centre.
They also get the chance to do enrichment for the bears in between their observation sessions. The enrichment materials were provided and the students created the enrichment using their imagination of what would be is suitable for sun bears. This is to build awareness among students about the importance of stimulating animal natural behavior through enrichment.
Before they left the centre, our Project Manager, Wai Pak explained to the students about the bears reaction towards the enrichments they made. They were also told about the bears in the centre going through rehabilitation process and the threats of sun bears as well.
Lastly, we would like to express our many thanks to the APE Malaysia team for organizing such beneficial activity for the centre especially in terms of education. Thanks to the ACSI students as well for spending time with us learning about sun bear rehabilitation!
Best wishes from BSBCC team!
Text by Gloria Ganang and photo by Tee Thye Lim
The BSBCC welcomed 21 students from Miami University today. They arrived at 11am and it was just the right time to see the bears resting or taking their naps in the enclosure, which is right after their feeding time. The bears were already on their most comfortable position between tree branches, taking their afternoon naps as the group emerge towards the observation platform. Sun Bears usually take naps in the afternoon for an hour or two. Seeing a bear resting between tree branches is always spectacular and amusing even for the BSBCC staff! You are one of the lucky ones if you get to see this, as this particular experience would be very rare especially in the wild. Sun bears might just move away when sensing human presence. We also get to share the experience of Manis, one of the adult female of the centre foraging for food on the forest floor.
While enjoying the tropical forest environment on the observation platform, Wong, the founder and CEO of BSBCC told fascinating stories about sun bears in the wild.
It is always a pleasure for us to share our interests and concerns about sun bears with as many people as possible. We would like to take this wonderful opportunity to thank the Miami University group for supporting us through their donation. Thanks for buying our t-shirts and bandanas as well! It would really help us in rehabilitating the sun bears and spread the words about the forgotten bear - the sun bears!