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It is time for an annual health check for the sun bears in Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. On October 7th and 8th, Dr Diana Ramirez from Wildlife Rescue Unit, Sabah Wildlife Department performed a general health check on 8 of our bears- Susie, Keningau, Takob, Manis, Cerah, Jelita, Lawa and Om. This health check is a routine annual medical checkup for all of our bears to assess health, potential sickness, function of the internal organs, and physical condition.
During the checking, the bears were first being sedated with sedative so that we can handle them safely. Once they were unconscious, Dr Diana took blood samples, give deworming and multivitamin injections, while Elis (senior ranger of SORC), Wai Pak, Roshan and me were busy monitoring TPR (temperatures, pulse rate, and respiration rate), taking body measurements and photos, colleting hair samples (for future DNA studies). This was also a good opportunity to show Roshan, who will start his MSc project studying wild sun bear next year, on the procedures of handling and taking data on the wild sun bear in the future.
The checking and handling procedures went smoothly without any complication. The team took about 30 minutes to complete all the tasks. After that, the sedated bears were placed in their den to recover from the sedative, which usually took an hour or less. We will conduct the medical check on more of our bears in the coming week. Thanks for the hard work for all staff and especially Dr Diana! Gracias!
Sun bears are the smallest among the 8 living bear species. However, relative to their small size, their canines are largest among these bear species. Here is a close up photo of the canines from Om, a 6 year male sun bear in his prime age. Note the lower right canine was broken. Wild sun bear usually suffered from broken or chipped canines as a result of biting and breaking into hard wood to find bee nest.