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Text by Chiew Lin May
Photos by Seng Yen Wah & Chiew Lin May
Like many other endangered sun bears, Phin was taken from the wild and kept as an illegal pet near the logging camp in Sipitang district. He was rescued and transferred to the Lok Kawi Zoo on 1st March 2014.
For 8 long years in captivity, these sun bears are often neglected and poorly cared for. Phin can suffer emotional and psychological trauma, and he was not given the opportunity to learn the forest skills, his chances of survival in the forest are needed through the hard-release program.
It has been lonely for Phin as he was hard to be accepted by any of the other female bears. They growled whenever they met, and neither one wanted to play with him. We decided to let Phin have a gentle friend, Diana, to ensure that he received the best care after being put through unimaginable trauma.
On 24th February 2020, we integrated Phin with Diana. When the sliding door opened, Phin quickly went into the exercise den to greet his new friend, Diana.
Their responses were quite amazing. Phin is usually quite shy and timid, but he was brave to take a step playing with Diana. Happy wrestling sign!! Diana gave a perfect gentle play and pawing! They shared their story moment together! Both of the bears often play on the ground.
Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre’s enrichment programs are a vital activity to improve the bears’ environments and care based on their natural behaviours and instincts. Phin enjoys exploring various enrichment such as gunny sacks, dead logs, branches, paip feeder, and the Aussie dog ball stuffed with spices and frozen juice ice blocks.
For Phin, he has a soft-heart and he will let Diana be the first in line to investigate the enrichment. Phin shows to be more comfortable with Diana.
So lovely to see he finally has a true friend. Phin is keen to make the most of his freedom. Phin is usually seen roaming around in the exercise den with Diana and then wiggles himself in for a nap time in the comfortable basket. And if Diana is busy, Phin will find other things to do!
The friendship between them has blossomed and STRONG bonds of trust have been established. Phin is doing very well and getting the love and care he deserves.