Last week there were three students from National Singapore University came to volunteer with us. SayLin, Mark, and Yuru who are majaring in biology, medicine and sociology, respectively. Over the next few days I will post their blogs to share their stories and experiences working with us...
Here is the first blog from Saylin which are also posted in his blog at http://12miles-out.tumblr.com/
With his own words, SayLin wrote..
My name is SayLin, and I’m a Biology Major in the National University of Singapore(NUS). I have a keen interest in Environmental Biology with an emphasis on Wildlife Conservation. The evolutionary processes that shape and drive the fascinating array of organisms also greatly interest me. I have just completed the 2nd year of my course, so hopefully my interest in this field will eventually get more specific.
I am an ex-employee of Night Safari Singapore, having held the post of Junior Trainer Presenter in the Animal Presentations Department. More will be written about my experiences and feelings about my 1.5year stint there. I am the Sterilizations Officer in the NUS Cat Cafe, a part of the NUS Animal Welfare Society. I have been responsible for most of the systematic sterilizations of stray cats on campus. Apart from official commitments, I have taken on various voluntary opportunities in the field of Biology.
Right now, I am in Sandakan, Sabah, East Malaysia, at the South-eastern tip of Borneo Island. My 3 weeks here is as a volunteer at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre(BSBCC) by Researcher Wong Siew Te. I am here with 3 other ex colleagues from Night Safari. This opportunity was kindly provided by Prof Sivasothi from my course in NUS.
This here is Jelita, one of 12 rescued sun bears in the centre. The 12 bears in BSBCC are either victims of the illegal pet trade(cruelly taken after having their mothers shot by hunters) or transferred from zoos. Jelita and the rest of the bears have benefited from Wong’s hard work, having recently moved into the new BSBCC facility.
Apparently, everywhere in Sandakan is referenced by how far it is from the town centre. So right now, this blog is set up at the BSBCC Staff Quarters - 12 miles out. This blog will be about my various experiences in this field.
Posted May 13, 2010 at 2:19pmSandakan, Borneo: Day 1
The day started off very apprehensively for me. Months of preparations and arrangements led to today, and still I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The internet can only provide that much information, and I only have my experience in Sibu, Sarawak back in 2004 as a comparison. My cousin works here in Sandakan though, but its at least 2 hours drive from where I am, with Sungai Kinabatangan, the largest river in Sabah to cross.
I finally arrived in Sandakan at 2035hrs with Mark and Yuru, a Sociology and Medicine student respectively. Amanda, a recent Psychology graduate, will be joining us in a week’s time. Wai Pak is in charge of our stint here while the chief researcher SiewTe is in Montana writing his PhD thesis. After a hearty late dinner at a Mamak Shop, that was almost like a restaurant really, we headed over to the BSBCC Staff Quarters.
This is the living room of our nice wooden house, with a Sun Bear photo amongst many others at the top right hand corner. Its almost like living in a Biology lab really, fascinating maps and photos of animals all around, actual feathers on the walls and even some skulls displayed. We were greeted by 5 resident dogs, and a litter of 7 puppies! We also share our rooms with a cat. Oh, and we have a resident Brown Wood Owl with us too, a rescue animal that is not fit to be released back into the wild. The 3 of us, being animal lovers with our own pets, feel very much at home amongst the lovely critters. (I’m distracted now by the cat chasing a cricket across the floor.)
More pictures to come of my 4-legged and feathered housemates. Medical check-up and orientation of BSBCC facility tomorrow. Can’t wait to see the Sun Bears. Must sleep now. Cheers all.
*Mark’s blog of our Borneo Adventures @ http://matahari-bears.tumblr.com/