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Text by Nabilah Hidayah Binti Misnen
Photos by BSBCC
Hi, my name is Yaya and I'm 20 years old. I came all the way from Negeri Sembilan to do my 10 weeks internship at Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, after changing my mind from completing an internship at a veterinary clinic. I am currently a final year Animal Health and Production student in University Putra Malaysia, Sarawak.
Undergoing my internship at an animal conservation isn’t the most glamorous work. The first advice I can give you from my first-hand experience is: do not wear your favourite shirt when you start working! And I wouldn't wear your new sneakers either, because you don't even know what might happen to it. Despite all of this, it's an uhh-mayyyzing and rewarding experience even though there are many tough activities involved, such as cleaning up their dirty beds, hiking to feed the bears. There are also fun things to do here especially, to spend time with the bear keeper team. They are very friendly and helpful and make the surroundings very pleasant for the internship students like me. I'm not going to tell you about what I actually did here, in BSBCC because it is hard for me to describe! So, lots of pictures coming through.
Animals need to be treated gently as they also have feelings and seem to understand what is happening around them. It was a great pleasure to see them eating and playing around. Completing my internship at BSBCC was rewarding on many levels. Not only in its educational form both from an animal care and natural history perspective, I also got to appreciate the challenges of operating and managing a wildlife facility. It is also empowering because we know we are able to make a difference in the lives of the animals. They are already in captivity, so the very least we can do is help to improve their quality of their lives.
Mark my words: There is a soul in each and every animal, and they should be treated with respect.
This is the best reason to intern or volunteer in an animal conservation centre. It's a lesson that has sown deeply into my heart. The sun bears have not left my mind since I've been back in Sarawak. Those few weeks with the sun bears and the people were very intense, in a beautiful and heart-breaking way. I can honestly say that I not only fell in love with the bears, but also the people I met. I hope to visit BSBCC again with my friends to share this experience and to help out wherever we can.