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Text by Dr Yeoh Boon Nie
Photos by Jacquelyn Jill Jepiuh
BSBCC started 2022 with the arrival of RESCUE-66 Kukuton, a 7-year-old male sun bear that weighed a mere 19kg. In addition to his small body size, Kukuton had many self-directed stereotypic behaviors. Fortunately, his life turned out better after befriending Kipaku, Betung and Itam in BSBCC. At the second half of the year, a female juvenile sun bear RESCUE-67 Rudy arrived at BSBCC. A big contrast to Kuktuton whereby Rudy is a healthy, playful, and energetic juvenile bear and her exciting rehabilitation program will kickstart in 2023.
Our sun bear cubs Kipaku, Itam and Betung are making great progress from fence training to the release into the forest enclosure. This is one big achievement for the cubs venturing the forest life.
The reintroduction of a 6-year-old female sun bear Wawa, was another highlight of the year. From the pre-release recce, reintroduction, ground truthing survey, trap and translocation, and post-release monitoring, every operation was meaningful. The mighty Wawa deserves to live in the wild where she belongs.
The saddest moment in 2022 was to announce the death of our dearest captive-born cub Luna on the 19th September. We are touched by the support and understanding from all BSBCC supporters. Dearest Luna, you are the brightest star in the sky. We thank you for coming into our lives.
When traveling internationally was finally safe and allowed, we were grateful to host Dr. Cedric Tutt (Cape Animal Dentistry Service, South Africa), Dr. Serena (Wildlife Asia Veterinary Services, Singapore), Dr. Reza (Danau Girang Field Centre, Sabah), and Dr. Nabila (Sabah Wildlife Department) in collaboration to provide advanced dental treatment to eight captive sun bears and one orangutan. Such collaboration is wonderful for the sake of animals’ welfare.
We have also started to receive many volunteers and interns. To every single person, our Bear Care team are truly grateful for the time and effort you have given to learn more about sun bears. Thank you for all for your hard work participating in husbandry and enrichment. We know that it is hard work and we would like to congratulate each one of you. You guys really make a difference to the welfare of our smallest bear species!
2022 was a convalescence year from the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic taught us a hard lesson about One Health. None of us can escape from the punishment when one key component in this universe goes wrong. We are truly grateful to the Yayasan Hasanah for the continuous support of BSBCC conservation work since the pandemic started.
Our new year’s wish is simple – for the improvement of all sun bears’ wellbeing. May 2023 be kind to our 30-year-old Amaco who has started to show geriatric signs and Rungus who is suffering from neurological symptoms. We are thrilled about the forest adventure that is waiting for Sika, Rudy, Kipaku, Itam, Betung and Kukuton. We look forward to the Tabin Sun Bear Project which will enhance our understanding of the species in-situ. There are many more exciting projects on BSBCC’s 2023-to-do list. Let’s hope for a blessed 2023 and strive for the best!