Montom with Susie – a beautiful relationship is developing!

Date: June 16th 2015

Text and Photos by Chiew Lin May

Susie, a 4 years old adult female (Front) was introduce to Montom, 3 years old sub-adult male (Behind).

Finally the day for Montom, a 3 years old male sub-adult sun bear, to be introduced with Susie, a 4 year old female adult sun bear, was on the 4th of June, 2015. Montom and Susie were rescued from pet trade. BSBCC have taken an innovative approach of integrating rescued sun bears. These interactions between bears can help them to develop and learn skills that will be needed in the wild.

These two bears got to know each other by being placed in adjacent dens. Once the gate was opened, Montom immediately played with Susie. Susie was not too friendly towards Montom at the beginning. Susie is a short tempered and sensitive female bear compared to Montom who is a happy and outgoing juvenile male bear. Montom just watched Susie in a curious way and sniffed her. Susie greeted Montom with angry growls and paced. Montom showed an interest in play and sometimes would back off when he knew Susie was angry with him.

However, after two days Susie began to grow in confidence and played with Montom. Both showing canines and claws when they played.

Montom let Susie to settle down until he slowly approached her again

They were sniffing and playing together

Both bears tried to show that they have the strength !

For the rest of their first week together, they began to understand and trust each other better, eventually giving space and sharing food together. No aggression was noted and the two bears were observed playfully tumbling around the floor of the den. They learnt the smells and behavior of the others. Montom was seen to be enthusiastic and playful.

A couple more sniffs on Montom, she become ever more confident

Both play tumbling around the floor of the den

Both play tumbling around the floor of the den

Both play tumbling around the floor of the den

Susie would climb up high to avoid Montom biting on her neck

The integration went very well and they have settled into their new dens very quickly

Over the following weeks, Susie seemed just fine to have Montom as her playmate without any aggression

Enrichment items such as dried leaves, green leaves, dead wood, climbing structure, and various food based enrichment was provided in the dens to keep Montom and Susie busy and to learn the survival skills. They enjoyed all of the different enrichment items given to them. Montom would grab the food first and break the enrichments!

Sharing food together without any aggression

Explore enrichment time!

Susie curious with the branches smell

Susie is digging and excavating decayed wood.

Montom is digging for termites and sniffing out any hidden food

Montom was had a rest and gasping for breath

Seeing Montom and Susie explore the exercise pen together is an absolute pleasure. The integrations are continuing well. Especially Susie who is a sensitive bear and has a tendency to pace. Through this integration, she is learning to be a “bear” for the first time in her life and all the mistreatment, trauma she underwent is in the past. Both of them are developing into lovely young sun bears. Montom shows the most dominance.

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