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Text & photos by Seng Yen Wah
The story begins from...
One day, a person found a bear cub alone in the forest at Kg. Kipaku, Tambunan. He was just three months old. The person sent him to Lok Kawi Wildlife Park on the 12th of April, 2018 and he arrived at BSBCC on the 22nd of January, 2019. This cub was named Joe. When he arrived he was in a healthy condition. He is four years old now.
Due to the long periods of being kept in captivity, Joe appeared tame and attached to humans. He suckles his hind paws when he requires attention and does it more frequently when he sees humans. When kept in captivity, wild animals cannot behave as they do in the wild, leading them to develop negative stereotype behaviour.
Fortunately, Joe meet Logan and Romolina and they grew up together. This has been important for Joe to help him recover from trauma, put his past behind him and reduce his stereotype behaviour. From the beginning, Joe was a shy bear. Logan is the playful bear who always takes the initiative to play fight with Joe. Once they start to play, they can be playing non-stop! Compared with Logan, Romolina seems less interested in joining their play. Sometimes she will play too, and it is entirely up to Romolina. Integrating with Logan and Romolina enriched Joe’s life. He is no longer alone and now has friends! Joe has become open and clear. He knows how to make friends with others. Now he takes the initiative to play fight with his playmates. Joe has a good personality bear and is always tolerant of others.
On the 30th of April, 2019, Joe took his first step into the forest with Logan and Romolina. It was the first time Joe saw the forest outside. He was hesitant and afraid to go out. After the keepers encouraged him with treats he slowly explored the forest. He has adapted well to his forest home and has made good progress slowly learning and developing the skills needed for survival in the wild. Joe seems to know how to enjoy the forest’s life. He spends most of his day foraging. He searches every corner of the forest so that he never misses out on any food. After being busy foraging, he will choose a place to rest and sunbathe! Any place will become his favourite place to sunbathe. He likes to cover up his face when he rests. Even though he is covering his face you still can easily spot him!!
It is heartwarming to see Joe is improving every day. He is always bright and alert. With his kind character and innocent eyes, Joe can easily grab your heart. We hope Joe will gain more skills in the forest and become like a wild bear.