Amaco, Orphaned Bear

Video by Chiew Lin May

Amaco was found by a plantation worker in the middle of the forest when he was still a cub. He was kept as a pet and fed rice and condensed milk in the last 18 years. An inappropriate diet in the pet trade can lead to long term dental damage. He stressed upon arrival.
Amaco has been on a long road to recovery since he was rescued. He loves engages with enrichments. He likes to play fight with his best friends – Chin and Panda. Please share his story!

Kipaku Explore Termite Mound

Video by Chiew Lin May

Day 7: Favourite! Termite Mound!

BSBCC runs a number of enrichment activities for the sun bears in their care. It promotes physical and mental stimulation or to ensure the sun bears' well-being.

​Little Kipaku learns to break the termite mound and feeding on termites!

Meet Kipaku – The Busy Bee

Text by Chiew Lin May
Photos by Sabah Wildlife Department, Seng Yen Wah & Chiew Lin May

Meet little Kipaku, an active 5-month old male sun bear cub. He was being kept as a house pet by a local villager family in Kampung Kipaku, Tambunan, Sabah. The story reported to the rescue team was that they found him ‘wandering alone’ in the forest fire area. 

The family then decided to hand the cub over to the Sabah Wildlife Department on July 16th, 2020. Kipaku’s story is similar with the other rescued sun bears. Sun bears are facing extinction in the wild if uncontrolled poaching activities or losing their forest homes to fire, logging and palm oil plantations are still continuing. Sadly, it is believed that his mother undoubtedly was killed intentionally or perished in the fires. He arrived at BSBCC on July 18th, 2020. He appeared dull and with dry hair on his coat when he arrived.

Thanks to the Sabah Wildlife Department’s Wildlife Rescue Unit who saved Kipaku’s life. 

Following his arrival, Kipaku was placed into quarantine. He adapted to his new life of freedom. He receives round-the-clock care from his surrogate mother by helping and encouraging him to gain back confidence and build up his strength – be WILD. He has shown tremendous growth in the last few days. He now weighs 7.20kg.

Kipaku is now safe hands at the BSBCC quarantine.

Little Kipaku has stolen our hearts with his beautiful chest mark.

Bear cub requires constant care. In the wild, their mothers provide continuous love, care and teach them the skills they need to survive.

We offered him different types of fruits, vegetables and invertebrates, wondering what would attract him first.
He is a grub lover and is very messy with his food!! His favourite foods are mealworms, ants and milk. He has a peculiar way of foraging his food by using his tiny sharp claws to tear it up (in a gentle way). Never mess with him when he is eating! 

Kipaku went for mealworms or ants first- sniffing, catching, tearing up and crunching on them!

Kipaku went for mealworms or ants first- sniffing, catching, tearing up and crunching on them!

He just knows that he is good to eat!

Kipaku wants to bark a “Huge thanks” to our lovely sponsorship, Fido Premium Milk Powder from TTL Distributions Sdn. Bhd. (http://www.ttl.com.my/) for being part of his journey. His health is now in a stable condition. He has been fed a milk formula five times a day for his growth.
Kipaku is showing some positive signs of improvement.
He gets fed every three hours and has adjusted well to his daily milk feeds.
Sun bear cubs remain dependent on their mothers for the first two to three years of age. Poor care and the psychological trauma of losing his mother means a lot to Little Kipaku. He has been kept in captivity, growing up alone and habituated to the presence of humans. All Kipaku knew was being scared and stressed. He will growl and bawl when no one is beside him. But lacking a fear of humans, the bear is ill equipped to survive and will be vulnerable to hunters in the wild. Throughout his rehabilitation process, we are minimizing the number of caretakers to reduce the habituation to human contact, keep his wild behaviours and slowly support increasing his independence.

His personality has begun to emerge! 

He is an agile and unique bear. Kipaku can be a challenge to keep mentally occupied – stolen from the wild and never had the chance to learn survival skills from his mother. We provide a variety of environmental enrichment such as different types of young leaves, termite mounds, dead wood, logs, and branches to promote physical activity and prepare him for life back in the wild. It is heart-warming to find out that Kipaku has strong wild instincts - foraging, climbing and defence skills. He has a deep love for digging and tearing! He can spend time digging and tearing dead logs for ants or termites, and for FUN too! Through enrichment, Kipaku can have a great day, every day! He is smart and full of curiosity. He will examine, dig, play and destroy it. He shows great climbing skills and is learning to be a very skilled bear! He uses all of his senses to explore different tastes of freedom.

One of the favourite activities (and most important) –DIGGING!

Little Kipaku loves the chance of learning natural behaviours.

He has powerful jaws and teeth to tear into the banana stem to get the sap.

With sharp claws and long tongue, Kipaku dig into termite mounds to get his favourite termites.

No surprise! He starts the day busy foraging and filling his tummy!

When moving to larger dens, Kipaku immediately climbed up high on the climbing structure.

He knew he was a superb climber.

He is an active little bear cub.

​Kipaku will not miss a play wrestle with his surrogate mother. He will begin playing, rolling and pawing.

He loves soaking in the swimming bucket and splashes water to beat the hot day. 

Kipaku tends to slow down on his busy activities and prefers to suckle on his front paw to seek comfort. 

He is a baby and will vocalize his feelings. He always keeps himself busy BUT starts to become grumpy when he feels uncomfortable with something! He is excited about everything that is offered to him - these little things are simple but are making the bear world of difference to his life!

Enrichment can develop his spirit of exploration and make him happy!

A relaxed and happy bear!

Kipaku usually feel curious about new things.

Perfect treats! He enjoys different types of enrichment toys offering physical and mental stimulation.

Sweet taste of FREEDOM!
Kipaku will undergo rehabilitation at BSBCC in order to one day be returned to the wild. He begins the long rehabilitation process of learning and developing the survival skills and behaviours needed to one day survive in the wild. After recovering and passing quarantine, we will start taking him out for walks in the forest in order to prepare him for a new life in the rainforest.

For him, life is full of adventurous and filled with new bear things to explore which is just the way it should be for a sun bear cub.

Sun bears are classified as “Vulnerable” to “Endangered” by the IUCN. Human activity continues to threaten sun bear numbers and are pushing them to extinction. Please do not keep sun bears as pets and leave them in the forest to their real life. Thinking about how you can send your LOVE to little Kipaku? Adopting is a great way to give him the life he deserves. Please adopt Kipaku today! He will make your heart melt!


Wild . Free . Montom

Video by Chiew Lin May

“The best GIFT you could have given to them was a lifetime of FREEDOM!”

Montom released back into the wild on 10th July 2020 after five years of rehabilitation at Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC).

This is wonderful and really makes us know that he deserves it! We wish him the very best with his new freedom of life in the wild!


Wild is Life

Text by Seng Yen Wah
Photos by Chiew Lin May, Tee Thye Lim & Seng Yen Wah

Wild is life for all the wild animals. However, the pet trade is one of the reasons that has been constantly threatening their lives. The animals captured from the wild illegally to supply the demand for exotic pets. Most of the bears in BSBCC had been kept as house pets before being sent here. They were kept in a cold, empty and hard cage from a young age.  This is before they even had a chance to realize that it was not a natural habitat for them. They never knew their natural habitat is the forest if they were kept in a cage. Therefore, the mission of BSBCC is to rehabilitate and to reintroduce them into the forest environment.

After the release of Kitud , Boboi and Tan-Tan in April 2019 and now one year later, BSBCC team is delighted to share with you that we have released Montom, an six years old adult male bear in the wild on the 10th of July 2020! Montom is a beautiful name that means black in the local language, Dusun.  Montom was rescued from Kampung Melangkap, Kota Marudu on the 18th of January 2015 and came to BSBCC on the 21st of January 2015.

​Montom’s story began on a day when there was a dog chasing away a mother bear and the mother bear left a cub behind. The cub is known as Montom now. After that, he was taken and kept as a pet in a chicken wire mesh cage and fed with human food for a year. After five years of rehabilitation, Montom has developed excellent forest survival skills. Montom is an explorer. He enjoys every moment in the forest. He loves to dig. His shiny black fur is usually coated  in a dull brown colour after a whole day of digging. Climbing is one of his favourite forest activities as well. He loves to rest on a tree and let the sunlight shines upon him. He never gets bored in the forest! Montom always surprises us with his potential. He has proven that he is ready to be reintroduced into the wild! 

On the 9th of July 2020, our veterinarian, Dr. Yeoh Boon Nie, conducted a final check-up on Montom. After the check-up, we moved him to a translocation cage. Keepers were closely monitoring him during his recovery from the sedation. 
Our founder & CEO, Dr.Wong check on Montom’s collar condition.
Thye Lim checks and makes sure the satellite collar is functioning well.
BSBCC resident vet, Dr.Boon is checking on Montom.
Dr.Boon insert microchip on Montom.
After the check-up, the keepers move Montom to the translocation cage.
Montom placed in the translocation cage and keeper closely monitoring him.
At 4.55 in the evening, the team was getting ready for loading up the translocation cage. This time, we decided to release Montom in the forest at the northern part of Sabah. The planted forest operates by Forest Solution Malaysia (FSM) of Asian Forestry Company Sabah (AFCS). And hence, we have appreciated the help of FSM in this operation. At 5.05 pm, the bear release team and Montom departed, and they were on the road for an eight-hour journey. It was a long night! 
The cage loaded on a truck and everything was ready.
​After the eight-hour journey, the team and Montom arrived at the northern part of Sabah and met with the team from FSM. Due to one of our’s car condition is not suitable to go to the off-road, we swap the cage to another vehicle. Then, our release team and FSM team departed together to the release site with a four-hour off-road journey. This release operation is more challenging than any of other release operations ever! The FR is mostly hilly with steep slopes and ridges. However, it’s significance to give Montom a second chance of freedom. When we arrived at the site, the sky is still dark. Montom looked mostly calm in the cage. Maybe he knows today is the day he could be free in the forest! He had been waiting for this moment for too long!

The team swap Montom to another vehicle for the off-road trip.
We arrived to the release site at 5 am. The sky is still dark.
The sky is slowly turning blue. The weather is good. Before opening the door, the team made all the final preparations and site inspections. Montom, soon you will enjoy the freedom of your true home where you are originally from. Once the door opened at 6.18 am, he ran straight into the forest and finally disappeared in the woods. We shed our happy tears for him. Montom is finally free! He is finally home! We hope he finds his happiness and enjoys the adventure in the wild. His movement will be monitored by the BSBCC team all the time. Be wild and be happy, Montom. 

The sky is slowly turn blue at 6 am. The weather is good.
After the team made all the final preparations and site inspections, they carry Montom to the release spot.
“All the best, Montom!” - Last goodbye from Dr.Wong
On the 10th of July 2020, at 6.18 in the morning, Montom is finally free! He is finally home!
The BSBCC team would like to say thank you to the Sabah Forestry Department, the Sabah Wildlife Department, the FSM team and everyone who has given us support and assistance. If you would like to provide us with any support, you can visit our website to get more information.  Your help will allow us to sustain our efforts in making a difference for the sun bears’ wellbeing. Sun bears belongs to the forest! Please save the sun bears and let them be happily wild in the wild. Wild is life!