Sun bear is a forgotten bear species. They are the least known bear and one of the least known large mammals in Southeast Asia until recently. I hope this blog can enlighten readers and open up discussions on how we could help this unfortunate but yet magnificent animal that we call “sun bear".
…and then there were 10!
First few moments of freedom for 10 sun bears just climbing and playing around
They are interact with the natural environment experiencing with different smells and sounds.
Following up on the indoor integration of the Mary and Natalie groups, today we saw the culmination of the exercise – the whole group outside sharing one forest enclosure!
By regularly allowing the indoor socializing and ‘wrestling parties’ these bears so love, the bear house team ensured the two groups remained on friendly terms.
Finally the time had come to test their ‘friendliness’ outdoors, where controlling a tense situation or fight would be impossible. A few of us entered the forest enclosure to scatter loads of fruit which would serve to distract from conflict, and fill tummies, hopefully creating a contented environment. Having only fed and observed from the feeding platform into this forest enclosure, I felt a little like being in someone’s home without their permission!
The forest enclosure looked so charming for the sun bears to roaming around.
Then the bear keepers opened the bear house doors while we waited expectantly at the feeding platform, anxious to see who would be the first to arrive in the pen. It took a good 5 minutes before we finally saw Fulung and another of the Mary group trundling along, calmly foraging on the scattered fruit. We had another wait until we saw any of Natalie’s cronies come to investigate the main area of the forest enclosure. Slowly Rungus, Natalie and Julaini began to familiarise themselves with the change of environment. Fresh alliances were forged and tree trunks were explored. Curiosity ruled the day.
They immediately look for insects in trees, climb trees and sleep high up in the canopy.
Sometimes they will just rest at forest floor.
Late afternoon found Natalie relaxing under her new favourite tree with a new found favourite friend – Bongkud, while Ah Bui sunned her tummy as her latest cohort Rungus dug for termites. Debbie showed off her climbing skills and Fulung continued his endless search for tasty snacks.Fortunately the day passed wonderfully uneventfully.
Introduce the ten sun bears that share in one forest enclosure:
-Natalie, 3 years old sub adult female
– Rungus, 5 years old adult female
– Julaini, 5 years old adult male
– Ah Lun, 5 years old adult female
– Ah Bui, 3 years old sub-adult female
– Debbie, 2 years old sub-adult female
-Mary, 2 years old sub-adult female
-Koko, 2 years old sub-adult female
-Fulung, 2 years old sub-adult male
-Bongkud, 2 years old sub-adult female
The bears all headed indoors for their much-loved evening meal; Julaini had chosen to stay indoors during this change of routine, which was probably fortunate as this young male could be a rough playmate with Fulung at times. While Natalie and Bongkud like to stay outside forest enclosure.
The next day proceeded to be just as peaceful and without any incidents. This must be a world first – successfully integrating ten bears into a single forest enclosure.
They walked and looked around, choosing a tree. But when they did, they too quickly climbed to the top and rested in the height of the canopy.
Natalie was playing with enrichment made by the students of South Island School, Hong Kong.
Together have a nap in the forest.
Play fight in the forest.
Koko get a nice posture of sleeping.
Climbing tree and grooming together.
Compete in climbing tree together.
Debbie is alert and ready to forage for her food.
Natalie is enjoy roaming and climbing trees.
It was a best place that a bear would lay down and take a midday nap.
Koko is too tired after explore the forest, take a rest first!
Ah Bui climbs a tree for a better look.
Enjoying a wrestling match!!
Debbie is very active , independent and playful sun bear.
Debbie is the only bear at the Centre with a “Y” shaped chest mark and look like a w
Koko is using the dead log to scratch her body.
It seem like Julaini was enjoyed in the forest.
Rungus was playing with enrichment made by the students of Ape Malaysia.
Fulung is very careful and keeps its distance.
Ah Bui is explore and very curious of the various things that surround them her – from leaves to leeches.
“Let me have a rest first! “
Wonder what is Mary thinking about?
Obviously this is not ideal, much more space is required. But it shows how well the competent bear staff know their bears – to manage factors like age, sex, character traits, and hierarchies within established groups – to pull this off so smoothly in the limited space available. Congrats, guys, it was a great privilege to be involved in this venture!
Now Bermuda can have his turn out in the forest:-)