HELP US, SUPPORT US
Text by Chiew Lin May
Photos by Seng Yen Wah & Chiew Lin May
Kicking off this month, we focus on more enrichment activities! Enrichment is one of the important key aspects for rescued sun bears in rehabilitation and plays a huge role in the volunteers work. Spending time in the forest is not always easy, but we are always grateful to the volunteers who spend their time and skills to help sun bears. The bear care team will tell you what volunteering life is like on a typical day in Borneo as a sun bear assistant, and why volunteers play such an important part in contributing to the causes. It will never be the same experience twice, but that is all the more reason to keep volunteers coming back to BSBCC!
It feels like it had only just begun! Groups of volunteers were split into smaller working groups with bear care team leaders and were assigned to varied tasks. Everyone has been busy working alongside the volunteers to complete the maintenance, construction and making enrichment project. Volunteers learnt as much as they could and soaked everything in. The team’s constantly were coming up with new ideas to stimulate and challenge these rescued sun bears. Volunteers got their hands dirty and ended up with stinky clothes!
Team A’s Project
(Azzry, Sumira, Chee Yoong, Georgia and Sophie)
The team built an “Olivia Tower” inside the forest enclosure of Pen E. In Latin, the meaning of the name Olivia is Olive, a symbol of peace. This Olivia Tower is specially made for one of our rescued adult female sun bears, Chin. It is her playground. The variety of climbing frames is for helping Chin to build strength and she can also take a sweet nap. This tower helps to stimulate Chin’s natural behavior in the wild. They can observe how Chin makes her way into the forest for her daily rehabilitation process. The teams focus was on building, mixing cement, and digging!
The team carried the hardest wood (i.e. Iron wood) with foundations been dug, installed the woods and vanish the wood to avoid termites. When it comes to sun bears, the tower structures have to be sun bear proof! It is amazing to see the creativity they build.
Many thanks to Team A for working hard in the sun and rain to get the Olivia Tower finished in time. The team was very enthusiastic and created a great learning environment. Again, big thanks to our awesome volunteer, Barbara Katsifolis, for your donation and supportive voice for the sun bears.
Team M’s Project
(Mizuno, Batrisyia and Alexander)
The team focused on building a rustic-looking house for Bjorn Hala’s dog – Momo. The wooden house will serve as a safe den for Momo to deliver and raise her puppies. They made it out of recycled iron wood and made sure they provided the puppies with enough space to eat, play and sleep. The wooden house will keep them warm and cozy. The team has worked tirelessly to spread love for Momo. It was brilliant fun for everyone who took part! Congratulations! On July 15th, 2017 Momo gave birth to two cute puppies. Momo looks quite happy inside her little home!
Team R’s Project
(Roger, Syaqil, Simon and Shannon)
This team is helping to design and build an essential access walkway outside the perimeter of Pen A and Pen K. The old walkway was facing deterioration and was muddy. They will construct a new walkway with durable material to ease the access for staff to the outside perimeter to observe, check or feed the bears. This project involves lots of sawing and hammering. Doing whatever else is useful!
Team B’s Project
(Brandon, David, Athirah and Lawrence)
Cleaning and general upkeep of the enclosures is an important task for us. It is challenging to maintain structures in the Bornean rainforest. The team makes sure the sun bears have a comfortable and safe forest enclosure to use by taking good care of their living spaces. Thanks to the dedication from the team who got the project done.
All teams also engaged fantastically with the enrichment activities! We had so much pleasure observing these sun bears as they rolled around and were quite playful with the enrichment created by volunteers and staff. The juvenile bears enjoy rotating through a list of toys. There is nothing more rewarding than discovering some enrichment that lights up the day of sun bears!
Photos shows the difference types of enrichment:
The volunteers have fallen madly in love with each of the sun bears. They were a hardworking, dedicated bunch from all walks of life! They worked tirelessly to provide these bears with the needs to survive and had many laughs. We can see that each project offered a very difference experience and was unique. Enthusiasm was always high and we were able to achieve great goals to save the forgotten bear - Sun bear. Knowing that we have made a big difference…
Sumira, Syaqil, Athirah, Batrisya, Chee Yoong, Laurence, Shannon, Simon, Sophie, Georgia, Kimberly Louise and bear care team, thanks for being a part of our enrichment project! Good job team! A loud cheer for all your efforts!
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