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Text and Photos by Jacquelyn Jill Jepiuh
Our four bears – Kipaku, Betung, Itam and Kukuton – have been going through fence training these past few months and it has been a new, challenging and slightly scary experience for them. We first started with the super naughty Itam. It was to no one’s surprise that she would get zapped by the fence as she would be so curious of her surroundings that she would get too close to the fence. She was scared for a while till we joined her up with her ‘Knight in shining armor’ – Kipaku.
Kipaku’s fence training experience was similar to Itam’s whereby he was also zapped by the fence from being too curious! Both Kipaku and Itam were so scared to go out individually but when we let both of them go out together, this boosted their confidence to explore and learn from each other. Eventually, these two mischievous bears were the first to learn that they shouldn’t get too close to the fence!
Itam and Kipaku's behaviour shows that they are weary of the fence and would carefully try to take the banana closest to the electric wire. Smart Itam was able to cautiously grab a banana and bring it back into the cage to eat.
Betung and Kukuton were a little slower with passing their fence training as both had unpleasant experiences with the electric fence. When they touched the electric wire, both got zapped and decided to climb up the fence. They got stuck on top of the fence, too scared to come down! During Betung’s fence training session, she eventually was able to conjure up the courage to come down herself. However, Kukuton was too scared to come down at all and our Bear care team had to step in to help him down. Since then, he is weary to exit his cage but day by day since the incident there has been some good progression. Betung has managed to overcome her fear and is quite comfortable with her surroundings and also recognizes the fence to be dangerous.
Our Bear Care team have also been working very hard to finish the Forest enclosure maintenance for our bears to be released back into the forest. It is very important for us to maintain the electric fence surrounding our forest enclosures as a barrier of safety for our bears and for us humans. The electric fence also helps to protect some of the trees from damage by our bears as well. Our team does a fence check daily to ensure that the wires are working well and will carry out maintenance such as clearing the overgrown plants and repairing any wires that may be faulty.
We would like to give a huge thank you to Hasanah Foundation for their continuous contribution towards our enclosure maintenance. With this we are able to continue our rehabilitation efforts to release Kipaku, Itam, Kukuton and Betung back into a forest enclosure where they truly belong.