Do it for The Bears

Text by Tindra Spennare Jacobssen
Photos by Tindra Spennare Jacobssen & APE Malaysia

Hello! My name is Tindra, I am from Sweden and I am 18 years old.

I study animal care at my school Spånga gymnasium and will graduate in a few months. Four of my classmates and myself got the opportunity to be volunteers at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre thanks to our school. We have now been here for five weeks as a part of our internship.

Before I knew about our school’s internship abroad, I had honestly never heard about Sun bears or even the island Borneo, but I have always been interested in conservation and rehabilitation of wild animals, so I did not want to miss such an experience.

During these five weeks I have weighed hundreds of kilos of fruits and vegetables, cleaned a lot of cages and gotten sweaty like never before. We have been going on trips to find banana leaves where we also got to try fresh coconut juice. We went on a walk into the jungle to find termite nests and got attacked by leeches.

My buddy Jeniur and I worked on a project together with my friend and her buddy. We improved a platform in an outside enclosure as an enrichment for the bears and to make them more visible for the visitors. We carried a lot of logs and it was really heavy, but all that was in my head was “do it for the bears”, and that really pushed me.

I also got to know the keepers and staff at the centre, they have been very friendly and funny since day one. The funniest moment from these weeks was from when we taught each other words in Malay and Swedish.

I have gained so many new memories and I have learnt so much during these weeks that it is hard to know what to include in this blog post, a thousand thoughts are going through my head right now. But if you are reading this and are thinking about volunteering at BSBCC, I really think you should!

I want to say thank you to the staff at BSBCC and APE Malaysia for making this volunteer experience the best possible and I hope to see you again in the future!

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