Cerah and Jelita – Wild chapter in their lifes

Date: December 6th 2012

Text and photo by Chiew Lin May

Malayan sun bear (Helartos malayanus) need a diverse tropical rainforest to survive. They are forest dependent species. BSBCC forest enclosure highlight the needs for animals better prepared for living in their natural environment. One of the primary goals of the BSBCC is to rehabilitate and release suitable orphaned and ex-captive bears back into the wild, providing an improved long-term living environment for captive bears that cannot be released.

The BSBCC forest enclosure is an old growth forest with full-grown trees and lianas. Over the past many months, we have observed good progress on Cerah and Jelita display their wild behavior and stand a better chance to freedom in the wild.  They are an arboreal bear species. They spend a lot of their time foraging for food, resting, digging and climbing on tree canopy at BSBCC forest enclosure.
They play a vital role as seed dispersers in their forest ecosystem as when they eat the fruits contain seeds. The seeds will be carried long away from the parent tree or scatter the undigested seeds in their faeces with a way to spread out and grow in new places. The importance of seed dispersal is for the continuation of plant and species life.

Sun bears are opportunistic omnivore. Cerah and Jelita forage by using their claws to dig the decayed wood searching for natural bear food such as termites and beetle larvae. They have to forage a lot each day in order to meet their energy requirement. They are good at skimming through the forest enclosure with their nose and paws to find any kinds of food in the forest. Jelita like to sit on the ground with her body straight up and held the food with her front paws and licked it. They are feeding on fruits both on the ground and in the trees. Sometimes, their black fur makes them not easy to be spotted when they are foraging on the dark forest floor at the forest enclosure.

Cerah the sun bear use her strong jaws and teeth to open coconuts!

Cerah and Jelita enjoying their morning snack.
Decayed wood was the most common type of feeding site for sun bears to search of termites, beetle larvae and earthworms.
Sun bears are good tree climbers because that is where they can find their food.  In the forest enclosure, Cerah and Jelita climb like a wild sun bear. They are excellent climbers and are thought to sleep in trees. It is lucky to saw the interesting behavior of the sun bears climbing up the trees. They usually spend most of their day sleeping and sunbathing on the tree or forest floor in the forest enclosure. After napping, they spend much of the time foraging for food.
Both of them climb like a wild sun bear in the BSBCC forest enclosure.
Jelita rolled her long tongue out when it yawned.
Here are some of photos showed the Cerah and Jelita difference resting/ sleeping postures.
Jelita taking a nap after finish the corn on tree !!
These trees will provide bedding sites for sun bears. Those branches also make a nice place to build a nest for resting or sunbathing during the day. Cerah and Jelita enjoy exploring the natural environment at BSBCC forest enclosure.
A sun bear’s nest found in tree at BSBCC forest enclosure.
Cerah and Jelita enjoy exploring the natural environment at BSBCC forest enclosure. While studies of sun bears in the wild indicate they live solitary existence, most likely due to competition for food but Cerah and Jelita are best pals. They will share food, comfort and protect each other together. Cerah have strong sense of curiosity.  She will stay alert and avoid with presence of human and surrounding sound in the BSBCC forest enclosure. She will quickly climb trees to seek shelter and safety.

BSBCC forest enclosure is a perfect dwelling place that the rescued sun bears can roam freely by day and night. Cerah and Jelita has learned from experience and developed technique in survival skills. Observed them venture and acclimate to life in the forest.  This showed a positive sign of independence and given the sun bears the best chance of survival in the wild. Both of the sun bears are fascinating in the forest enclosure. Watching the change of both of the sun bears grown healthy and adapt well in the forest is undoubtedly one of our greatest pleasures.
Cerah and Jelita like to play together in the forest enclosure.
Help us spread the words about the forgotten species – the sun bears! Together we can make a difference!!

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