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One of the locations where Jason Scott Lee visited during the production of this documentary was Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sepilok, Sandakan, Sabah. He and his production team spent one full day filming at the centre last week. Jason had a good time working with the sun bears and learning about this little known bears.
Jason started his day by cleaning the bear den. "Cleaning" may not be the best way to start anyone' day. However, to our Hollywood start Jason, cleaning bear feces, enrichment debris, food waste and others, was a good way to introduce the audience the amount of work load for taking care of these captive sun bears. After the cleaning, Jason and I cut two big buckets of fruits which we scattered fed to the sun bears in the forest enclosures later in that morning. All of the sun bears in the forest enclosures came out to greet us and feast on the fruits.
After lunch, we "walked" Mary the sun bear cub in the forest. Jason was surprised to see how attached Mary was on to me. "In the wild, sun bear cubs have to attach and follow their mother closely when they foraging in the forest. These orphan cubs do what their instinct tells them: following their mom". I explained. "Without the proper protection from mom, they probably will not make it to adulthood." The difference now for Mary, as an orphan, is that she has no mother to follow except me. I am her surrogate mother when I walk her in the forest. She has no choice but to trust me and put her faith onto me.
The other instinct that all sun bear cubs possess is the instinct of finding food in the forest. Beside fallen fruits, invertebrates such as termites, ants, earthworms, etc., are natural food that sun bears feed on in the wild. Although Mary walked slowly and moved slowly due to her malnutrition problem, she still has strong instinct of finding insects and invertebrates in the forest. That afternoon Jason and I observed Mary did a lot of digging and breaking into termite and ant nests, and spent the afternoon feeding on them. Good work Mary!
We hope Jason like other Hollywood celebrities who have visited BSBCC and learned more about the plights of the sun bears can help us spread the words about our works to conserve sun bears. Sun bears remain the least known bears in the world. The challenge for the conservation of sun bears is to overcome the very first step: let the public know about sun bear!