Text by Chiew Lin May
Photos by Seng Yen Wah & Chiew Lin May
Montom arrived safely at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC), after a long trip from the Kampung Melankap, Kota Marudu on January 21st, 2015.
The story reported to the Wildlife Rescue Unit was that their dog chased away his mother and she left Montom behind. He was taken and kept as a pet for a year inside a chicken wire mesh cage and was fed with the wrong diet. The owner was willing to surrender Montom to the Sabah Wildlife Department’s Wildlife Rescue Unit. During the arrival, he was stressed and weighed 26.8kg.
The rehabilitation process is long as it takes time for them to learn the vital skills they need to survive in the wild. This step begins with a period of quarantine to recover mentally from their traumatic years in the illegal pet trade, gain back trust and commence rehabilitation at BSBCC. With care and love from our bear team, he slowly recovers from the pain and trauma of being separated from his mother. His appetite is great and he is an active bear. He is quickly settling into his new environment and is getting a taste of the sweet life at the BSBCC.
Thank you to the Sabah Wildlife Department who rescued Montom so that he can have a second chance at living a happy wild bear life.
Since his arrival at the BSBCC, Montom has thrived. He made his first friend, Susie2 and enjoys the social play very much!
Over ten months after Montom was rescued from the illegal pet trade, where all he knew was fear and pain, on October 1st, 2015 he and Susie2 took their biggest step out from their dens into the forest and sunshine outside!
Montom kept looking up at all the TALL trees, again and again.
He is an exceptionally brave bear!
Montom moved around a lot to forage.
He went out quickly to his forest and began foraging eagerly for his favorite food.
In Malay language, the sun bear is known as “beruang madu” (honey madu) since it likes consuming honey. The sun bear has an extremely acute sense of smell. He will become incredibly excited if he finds honey! The availability of tasty beetles, pill millipedes, termites, ants and invertebrates has caused Montom to love spending more time on feeding and staying in the forest. This is EXCELLENT for him! He can always be seen sitting and eating his food between his fore paws.
Montom is a very inquisitive bear and is doing very well in the forest.
He is surprisingly good at climbing for his age.
Montom climbed up into the trees to continue his exploration of the forest.
You could hear tearing sounds from above – finding termites!
There has been one time that Montom was hanging upside down and had tied himself with the vines; he was having so much fun!
He is happy to be with all his bear friends where they can be free to forage,
sniff for HONEY,
chat with bear friends,
have a good roll in the soil
and growl together!
Montom is quite playful and he enjoys play wrestling with Kala.
He is one of the peacemakers and is a very gentle bear.
He will normally find a nice shaded place to have a nap.
On rainy days, he loves staying high up in the trees to cool off and avoid leeches!
Sun bears are very expressive!
He loves beaming his big bear SMILE and thoroughly enjoys himself!
He has embraced everything about his new life.
Way to go Montom! He is on his way to learning more skills that will help him return to the forest one day!!