Sunbearo & Loki Taking a Nap


Video by Chiew Lin May
Music: I am Happy by AShamaluevMusic

The best things in life are FREEDOM, Smile, Hug, Friends and Love!

Second Time Around


Text by Nithisha Nair
Photos by Nithisha Nair & Chiew Lin May

After only a week after my internship, I decided it wouldn’t be the last time I’ll be in BSBCC, I got my money saved and bought my tickets almost immediately, and once finals were over, thus began my two weeks volunteering in BSBCC. 

I’m Nithisha, a 20-year-old from Selangor, and I am obsessed with this place.

I’m not exaggerating when I say this environment feels a lot like ‘home away from home’, I’ve missed all the familiar faces, whether it be the staff, the bears or even the dogs back in Bjorn Hala. Even more so now with the addition of new friendly faces like Bithrenley and Danny.

As an intern, the schedules and procedures- especially for feeding, were systematically always changing over the period of my internship. So, coming back after over 4 months, there were plenty of obvious changes for me to catch up to.

It’s always interesting coming to understand why the diet is shaped a certain way or why they do certain things around here. This time around, the bear house team even got the chance to sit through a dental lecture with Dr. Boon to understand the dental checks that she carries out on the bears, and hopefully will be able to carry out on the bears annually. It was really fun understanding and counting up the canines and the molars of the bears.

Adrian and I assisting Dr Boon on Sika’s dental check

My favourite part of our bear house duties has always been feeding, I love seeing every bear’s different ways of foraging and eating.

Not to mention all of the enrichments we make on the daily to occupy and keep our bears happy, new enrichments that I got to make this time included the happy sack and a ‘frozen salad’ ice block.
Bithrenley, Mizuno, Amanda and I making happy sacks
Alicia and I crafting our ice block
I even got to assist in making a divider between two training pens to allow two male bears to be able to venture out at the same time without engaging in a growling match. Making the divider involved cutting zinc into perfectly sized measurements, painting them and attaching them in between two training pens.

During my volunteering, I received the pleasure of getting Boboi (Jeniur Justin) as my buddy, he’s a pleasure to be around and will never leave you in any state but happy. Thank you for guiding me and letting me tag along these two weeks boboi, your efforts goes a long way of imprinting itself in my memories.

To summarize my two weeks volunteering, it was wonderful. I even got to know Alicia and Amanda who were both also return volunteer/ interns just like me! Every single staff played a huge role in making my stay special and memorable, I don’t always admit it but they are who I’ll miss the most leaving this place. A million thank you’s and a million more wouldn’t be enough to describe how thankful I have to have gotten a chance to do my internship here and now volunteer here.

When the time and place is right, I truly hope to be able to come back and volunteer again someday, till then,
much love,

Logan Explore the Asian Box Turtle Carcass


Video by Chiew Lin May

Opportunistic omnivorous!!

Logan is getting very curious about the wild world around him. He found an Asian box turtle carcass and took great joy in ripping open it. He loving every minute of it!

A Huge Part of Panda’s Life


Text by Chiew Lin May
Photos by BSBCC & Chiew Lin May

​I was still an infant when I arrived at the local mini zoo in 2008. I was found in Tawau district of Sabah and was later sent to Kudat district, in the northern part of Sabah.

My friend and I were displayed in a mini zoo as panda bears, but instead we are Bornean Sun Bears.

The reason behind this was to attract visitors or inexperienced animal managers, who apparently did not have the knowledge or skills to care for the animals that they received, which could be why we were mistaken as species we are not.

We were fed with chicken daily which led us to have bigger body sizes compared to other sun bears our age.

My suffering ended when I was rescued by Sabah Wildlife Department on the 6th of July 2010, and was brought to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) on the 10th of July, 2010.

During the arrival, no external wounds were found on me, except my friend, Kudat showed his fur coat had multiple alopecic patches. We were both placed into Quarantine.

On the 8th of August 2010, after I completed my 30 day quarantine period, I was growing well and I was then a ten year old, adult female sun bear.

I have beautiful mauve-coloured eyes. I started to enjoy the delights on offer in this new environment.

Rescued sun bears at BSBCC are given a second chance to live freely in the BSBCC forest - free to explore, forage, climb and play as wild sun bears.

On the 20th of December 2013, I was undergoing fence training, which is one of the BSBCC’s rehabilitation processes that is before the bears can go out to the forest enclosure.

This stage is very important because the BSBCC forest enclosures are surrounded by electric fences that prevent the bears from escaping. However, up until now this fence training had not worked with me due to the fact that I still bared the scars from years of trauma after being locked up in a cage for entertainment purposes.

The bear care staff never gave up on me by trying to introduce me with new bear friends (Natalie, Ah Lun, Julaini and Rungus), to help improve my social and survival skills, and gain trust towards these rehabilitation processes.

It would take time for me to learn to trust the outside forest world.

On May 20th 2014, I had a traumatic injury on the rostral area due to an aggressive bite from a male, adult bear in the neighbouring cage.

Thank you to Veterinarian, Dr. Laura who helped me by reconstructing suture of the tissue on my rostral area. The bear staff kept a close watch on me and took care of my diet. Slowly, my snout improved.
On the 1st of July 2015, I was moved to another cage near Amaco (the oldest bear). I loved having these new dens to explore. I loved splashing in the water and taking lots of baths in the dens.

BSBCC provide the best care for all the rescued sun bears in our Centre, different enrichment activities are given by bear care staff in order to stimulate our natural behaviour and keep us occupied.

I am a big foodie and enjoy the bear’s main diet of fruit, coconut and HONEY!

I am very inquisitive and am always quick to come whenever there are YUMMY treats. There are different types of climbing structures and I take great joy in climbing them. I love the opportunity to play with a number of toys. I will figure out a toy by tapping on them with my superb sharp-curved, long claws and by checking them carefully. We love volunteers designing comfy bed for us!! It brightens our day!

My best friend is Amaco who is a male bear. The integration has really enriched my life.

Most important is that I am the first play pal for him. I am very sweet towards him so we love playing together. We are playing and wrestling non-stop. We share a very close bond and can be seen hanging out together.

However, I am sorry that I do not get along well with Chin, as sometimes she will get feisty if I wrestle with her which will end up in small brawls during play fights.

This year something has changed my life! With the help from our lovely volunteer, Khairunnisa Faisal and keeper, Adrian. Here I started to put my past behind me and recover from my traumatic years in captivity. A huge smile crossed my face as I received the life that I deserve!! I was finally brave enough to take my first step out to the forest after five years of training. I love to explore the grassy forest enclosure, forage for my favourite termites and rest in the hammock. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to try learning as a wild bear!

BSBCC are delighted I have been able to let go of the previous trauma in my life.

​I have overcome my fear and feel completely at home! Sun bears are classified as a Totally Protected Species under the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment, 1997. Please STOP keeping sun bears as pets! We DO NOT belong inside cages. Years of being kept as illegal pets have left many of us suffering from long term disabilities and physiological trauma. It requires considerable time and expense to restore the wild behaviour to us that have been victims of the illegal wildlife pet trade. If you care about us, you would not want to be left out of the fight for our survival. Please be our voice!

Kala Playing with Branches


Video by Chiew Lin May

Kala was rescued from the illegal wildlife trade as a cub, she was found emaciated, dehydrated and forget the skills she needs as a wild bear.

​After four years undergoes rehabilitation in BSBCC, Kala is now a healthy and sweet-nature bear who loves her freedom in the forest!

Sun Bear Logan & Romolina in the Rain


Video by Chiew Lin May

The rainy season is slowly starting up in Sepliok, Sabah. 

Sun bear Logan and Romolina enjoy a small break in the rain.

Mary Explore Dead Wood


Video by Chiew Lin May

"Basking in the sun was all I could think about!" - Mary the Sun Bear.

Hammock Amok Hanoi


Photos by APE Malaysia

Curious. Explore. Love. Brighten their day!

Hammock Amok Project in Hanoi Wildlife Rescue Center, Hanoi, Vietnam!

Enrichment improves the quality of life of animals in captivity, by promoting natural behaviours and instincts. There was also great progress made with this Hammock Amok Project. Together with APE Malaysia and Air Asia Foundation, they work tirelessly to provide the most stimulating enrichment for the animal’s well-being and provide the best care. Needless to say, the animals are very thankful for their special treat!

Million thanks to APE Malaysia for giving BSBCC this opportunity to join this Hammock Amok Project. It was a fantastic experience!

Hammock Amok is happening in Hanoi today! With the help from Animals Asia Vietnam, the enrichment we make will be given to Hanoi Wildlife Rescue Centre. Hanoi Wildlife Rescue Centre receives rescued animals from bear bile farms, former pets and illegal trades. We will work together with volunteers of Air Asia to create enrichment for these animals.