Text and photos by Siew Te Wong
BSBCC recently received a new rescued pet sun bear cub. Kept in a small cage, this poor bear was first seen by a friend of BSBCC in a remote village call Bongkud near Poring Hot Spring in Ranau Township, central Sabah. He then reported the incident to BSBCC and we filed a report to Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD). A rescue operation was conducted by the Sabah Wildlife Department’s Wildlife Rescue Unit on June 7th.
We name this female cub “Bongkud,” after the name of the village where she was rescued. It was already nightfall on June 19th when Bongkud arrived at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. Weighing about 12 kg and with milk teeth attached, we estimated Bongkud about 10 months old. Unlike other sun bears, the coat of Bongkud looks rather dried, meager, and yellowish. I suspected she is suffering from malnutrition, a common problem that we experience from captive sun bear cubs. Her body has few patches of old scars that could resulted from unknown wounds and rubbing against small cages.
Bongkud is tame and did not show any sign of aggression since she arrived at the centre. Her mellow behavior could mean one thing- she was captured from the wild at a very young age. We still have not received her full report about the confiscation and information about the previous owner so we have no way to tell about her history. We placed her in a temporary cage. A full medical examination and health check will be carried out soon by the SWD’s veterinarian to check for potential illness and assess general health.
The number of rescued sun bear currently house at BSBCC is now reached 27 bears with the arrival of Bongkud. We hope we could provide a good and safe halfway house for her at the same time plans for reintroduction is underway. The task is never easy since the first day we started the project. However, with your help and support, we are determine to give these rescued sun bears a better home!