Text by Yu Endo
Photos by Yu Endo & Sumira Muis@APE Malaysia
My name is Yu Endo and I’m from Japan.
I volunteered at BSBCC for 4 weeks and learned many things about sun bears. I learnt alot about environmental enrichment, this is an account of what I learnt and how we thought of and ultimately used the enrichment at BSBCC.
I was surprised at how often we came up with new ideas for enrichment; we brainstormed different ideas for enrichment every single day. I was interested in using enrichment not only to reduce stress but also to enhance the sun bear’s natural behavior. For example in the photo the enrichment was designed so that the bear will rip apart the logs looking for peanut butter, this mimics behavior that the bear would have in the wild.
I also noticed how we used the enrichment differed depending on the individual. After observing the individuals behavior we tailor made the enrichment to suit its personal needs. After the enrichment was introduced we evaluated how effective it was by observing how the individuals interacted with it, this helped us to ensure that the enrichment was effective in achieving the desired behavior.
In addition to enrichment, I experienced a variety of things, talking with Mr. Wong, helping training the sun bears to return to the forest and so on. I really enjoyed observing the sun bears; they are very interesting and fun animals!
I’ m not good at English, but staffs at BSBCC helped me many time. Thank you very much! It was a very good experience for me. I hope to visit BSBCC again in the future.