Text and Photos by Chiew Lin May
Loki, a female cub, was about one year old when she arrived at the BSBCC on March 24, 2014. She had been illegally kept as a pet in Ranau, a city just along the west coast of Sabah.
Sunbearo, one year old male cub, came to the BSBCC on March 10, 2014. He was confiscated from the Mini Zoo Hot Spring, in Tawau, a city in the southeast region of Sabah.
Sunbearo and Loki recently completed their individual quarantine periods, and finally the day has come for us to integrate two sun bear cubs for the first time! Fire extinguishers and buckets of water were prepared to separate them if they became aggressive with one another. Azzry, our bear keeper, helped with the observation and assessment of the introduction.
Sunbearo and Loki lived quietly side by side in the quarantine area, and after one month of solitude the sliding gate between them was opened on April 21st. Loki was curious and neared the gate to sniff Sunbearo. Sunbearo, being the naughty little boy that he is, was sure to be the first one to run into the cage where Loki belongs. Both of them instantly sniffed and explored all over the cages, tapping everything around and checking out the new climbing structures. After about ten minutes of sniffing, and no aggressive growls, it was PLAYTIME! Sunbearo initiated play with Loki, and from that point on they wrestled nonstop for an hour straight inside the big basket. The two bears took a short break, and then went right back to more playing!
These are the pictures that show how Sunbearo and Loki play fight.
The following day was more fun! The playing continued and the bears chased, rolled, and climbed around the exercise pen together. Sun bears have uniquely loose skin around their necks, so that if they are bitten by another bear they can escape from it. They also come equipped with strong sharp claws that they can use to protect themselves from harm. The integration of the bears went extremely well! Sunbearo also began to suckle on Loki’s ear to seek comfort. The first time he tried to do this she refused to let him, but after about twenty minutes she finally trusted him and allowed him to suckle on her ear.
We are so glad that they socialised well together; especially Loki due to the high stress levels she had when she first arrived at the Centre. She is now a happy bear and enjoys wrestling with her new companion. Compared to Loki, Sunbearo demonstrates a more dominant personality. He is definitely the boss! It seems they are beginning to understand and comfort each other more and more every day.
This has been such a wonderful experience seeing such a successful integration of two bears without any aggression whatsoever. We have honestly never seen such active, curious, and happy bears! We are hopeful that these cubs will grow, learn, develop, and explore their new environment together so that one day they will be rehabilitated and released back into the rainforest of Borneo.
Text and Photos by Chiew Lin May
Loki, one year old female sun bear cub was discovered in the backyard of an inn, where she had been illegally kept as a pet for about five months. Her previous owner purchased her from a friend in Ranau, west coast of Sabah, and named her “Ooi”.
Her background story is very unclear, but as of March 24, 2014 she was rescued and given a new home at the BSBCC. Loki is a very special sun bear cub adopted by Steve Denim who is passionate in changing a sun bear life. He name this female sun bear cub as "Loki" to remember his cat who was struck by a car and unfortunately succumbed to his injuries.
When Loki was confiscated by the Sabah Wildlife Department she was in very poor health due to the owner’s lack of knowledge on how to properly take care of a sun bear cub. Loki was severely malnourished, which caused her paws to appear too big for her thin body. She had also experienced so much stress that she paced a lot when she first arrived at the Centre.
Under the care of BSBCC, Loki’s physical condition has improved.
She is very aware of her surroundings and reacts to every sound by standing on her feet.
Due to the emotional traumas that occurred from being kept as a pet, Loki is having a hard time adjusting. Often times when she enters the exercise pen, she is too afraid to explore the climbing structures or enrichment activities. Instead, she likes to spend her time resting in a big basket where she feels safe.
She is quite adorable and has an especially wide pointy mark on her throat to chest.
Loki has adapted to her new environment and situation quite well given what she has been through. She is slowly gaining the strength and confidence that she will need to live the life of an independent sun bear.