4/26/10

The integration of Om and Ah Chong – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation

The integration of Om and Ah Chong – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation

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Sun bear generally is a solitary animal in the wild. The only times when wild sun bears are not solitary is during the breeding season when male and female bears travel together for several days until mating takes place, and female sun bear with their cubs. These bear cubs can live with their mother for at least two years until they reach adulthood and are as big as their mother. Different male sun bears overlap their territory at a minimum level. They are territorial and defense their territory from other bears. Six out of the 7 adult male sun bears that I caught in the wild had bite marks and scars on their body especially neck resulting from severe fights with other bears. One male adult bear was known to kill a young female bear known as “Little one”, the sun bear that appears in the logo of BSBCC. Little one was a 10-month old female sun bear that was killed by a 3-year old male sun bear in the forest. The territorial and aggressive behavior of sun bear is a result of competition in a habitat where food is a limited resource and the male bears compete for access to female bears. Compared to other sun bear habitat in SE Asia, the rainforest of Borneo has the lowest productivity, which intensifies competition among the bear population. Sun bears are also known to be more aggressive to each other as compared to Asiatic black bears in captivity. Sun bears can live in groups in most captive situations where food is not a limiting resource and competition for mates is not an issue. However, the initial stage of integration or introduction of non-familiar bears can be the most stressful events that a bear can experience in captivity. In the wild, a bear can have the choice of interact with a strange bear based on environmental, familiarity, and safety conditions. In captivity, such choices may be limited.

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At BSBCC, Om and Ah Chong are two male bears that we would like to integrate so that they can live together because we simply do not have enough enclosures for individual bear. This is the first integration for male bears at our centre and we hope the integration go well. We would like to pair them up as they have been live in adjacent cages for years with no aggression behavior in our old bear house and both of them have similar size. So finally on April 10th, we integrate them for the first time. This is what happen over the next two hours:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bQ3m-Hr59o