Text by Sarah Nabilah Hamdan
Photos by Jacquelyn Jepiuh, Jude Ailton George, Sarah Nabilah Hamdan
Time flies, no worries. That’s what Ivan said to me the first week I’m here. It surely is. I’ve witnessed the transition of bear care staff, learned about the progress of Wawa's release into the wild, and participated in bear relocation. I’ve seen Soo came out from the training pen after 2 years of not stepping into the forest enclosure and climbing a tree (others claimed Soo does climb, but only in the cage). I’ve seen Dr. Boon getting chased by an Orang Utan at the clinic, running around the Hilux. We had celebrated Luna’s first birthday. Been through a no-water phase to finally-I-can-sanitize-a-cage. From only knowing Amaco to recognizing every sun bear at the bear house, even the macaque too (lmao Brian) T.T
Fascinating and intriguing; each one of the bears has its quirks and habits. Some vacuum their foods doesn’t even bother to peel the banana while some like to take their own time, laying down on their back enjoying the banana, bit by bit (Yes Sigalung, that’s you). Some crack opens the coconut using their strong jaw, while some throw the hard shell on the ground to break it. Easy for Kipaku, he would steal other’s opened coconut (Legend say it Kipaku has finally learn how to crack coconut on his own). I can sit and talk about each one for hours but let’s not write a whole book here.
I’ll miss scrubbing the walls and floors while getting my cloth wet from the nearby water spray. I’ll miss prepping up their food. I’ll miss seeing the sun bears fighting over the sweet flesh of fruits scattered around during feeding session. I’ll miss the feeling of giddiness when I was invited over to assist with bear health check-up. I’ll miss doing enrichment together with everyone while listening to their legendary stories or venturing into the forest to seek for termite nest. I’ll miss doing fence check *roll eyes* and guessing what kind of bird sound that we listened to. Oh, surely not going to miss the part where I had to involuntarily donate my precious blood to the mini vampires a.k.a the leeches. I’ll miss learning new things every day.
I imagined it’d be a lonely road, being the only intern throughout the 3 months period, but nope. The staffs took a good care of me and ensured I experience lots of things. Though I can be a lil bit of cheeky and annoying, they were patient at all times (sorry guys hehe). They were super supportive, amiable and helpful in any way. Thank you and gracias Dr. Wong, Pradeep, David, Jac, Julamih, Jude, Oliver, two-legged Logan, Neal, Awie, Yuery and Dr. Boon for the fun working environment. Not to forget, Nurul, Arin, Max, Ina, Hanif and everyone at the centre. Thank you for everything – the knowledge, the skills, the banter, the stories, the memories, our friendships. I am truly grateful.
BSBCC has come so far, ever since 2008. I hope that BSBCC will continue their remarkable effort in ensuring the sun bears’ welfare being taken care of and attain their goals of educating the society locally and globally. I hope that everyone has the chance to know about the sun bears and love them. Love them in a way we educate more people to know about the sun bears. Love them in a way no one keeps them as a pet anymore. Love them in a way we protect them in their natural habitat - the rainforest.
Coming here was worth it. If taking care of the sun bears is one of my favourite songs on my Spotify playlist, I’d repeat it 100 times.