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Today saw one small step for a sun bear, but one giant leap for BSBCC. On Tuesday 20th April at approximately 10am, Om one of the adult male bears, took his final step into the new Jungle enclosure. The process of giving the sun bears a better life started many years ago, but today it was actually happening.
I had the incredible privilege to be present at the time, alongside Waipak and Charlie Hoare, a professional wildlife photographer, who has kindly volunteered to photograph the sun bears in their new home, following working with Raleigh Borneo.
Om had been thinking about venturing outside for a few days, but was always leaving just one paw inside for security. However this morning after the hatch to the outside had been opened for nearly an hour, Om finally crawled down the ramp and onto the forest floor. It was an amazing moment to watch with Charlie lost for words. He couldn’t believe his luck, he is use to waiting days to get the desired shot and Om had provided it in only an hour.
Once on the ground Om ran back and forth with enthusiasm, this was followed by loud excited barking. He only stayed outside for a few minutes returning back inside bounding up the ramp. He didn’t venture out again, most likely resting from the adrenalin of the mornings activities.
So now we hope that the other bears will soon follow Om into what is their natural habitat. Good luck to everyone working at the centre in the coming weeks, especially the sun bears themselves.
Jim Clements, Country Director, Raleigh Borneo
Photos by Charlie Hoare