Text by Jacquelyn Jill Jepiuh
Photos by Julamih bin Jainuddin , Jude Ailton George, Jacquelyn Jill Jepiuh
The time has finally come for our five bears – Luna, Itam, Kipaku, Kukuton and Betung – to move to the next stage of their rehabilitation programme! These five have successfully passed their integration with each other and have recently been moved from our Quarantine centre to the Bear House. Moving them to the Bear house means one step closer to being released into the forest enclosure and can finally experience what a real bear should be like. They will hopefully learn to exhibit natural bear behaviours such as foraging for food, exploring, nest-making, climbing and many more.
It was a two-day moving process with thanks to Dr Boon and the Bear care team that made the process smooth and successful. The first and busiest day was relocating Itam, Kipaku, Kukuton and Betung. These four bears all have something in common, whereby their right to be free in the forest was taken from them as a young cub. Now that they have been relocated to the bear house, we will finally be able to give them what they deserve - a forest enclosure!
First up was Betung. After she was darted and it was finally safe to approach her, she was carried and taken to the clinic for a health check. Betung’s condition has dramatically improved since she first arrived at BSBCC - emaciated and malnourished. After the health check was done, the team brought her straight to her pen in Bear House 2 which had already been prepared with toys and furniture for their easement into a new environment.
The same procedure was carried out with the other 3 bears. All bears passed their health and dental checks with flying colours and were all in stable condition which allowed the whole operation that day to go quickly with no undesirable incidents. They were given plenty of enrichment such as this large log and they had such a fun time destroying it.
On the second day, it was a bit more special as it was Luna’s turn to be relocated. As the youngest cub and having the closest bond to her caretakers, Julamih and Jude, it was time to let this little girl grow up and learn to be more independent with less human bonding time and more bear time! Her health check showed that she is progressing really well since she was first hand-raised at 8 days old. She was then brought to Bear House 2 after the health check. She was very calm and curious about her surroundings.
We even got to celebrate her 1st ever birthday! Our bear keepers prepared an array of enrichment and also a fruit-themed birthday cake for her. Little Luna loved the ice blocks and devoured the fruit cake. She also thoroughly enjoyed the leaf pool and punching bag that was made for her.
Overall, the five bears are slowly getting used to their new dens in the bear house. We love to see them play, fight and interact with one another. Currently, we are doing maintenance on their forest enclosure to ensure their safety when they get released. The next step for these five bears is to undergo fence training and will eventually be allowed to explore the forest once they pass their training. Do send these bears your love and support and we hope that the rehabilitation process will go well so that they can potentially be released back into their natural habitat in the future.