Wild . Free . Montom

Video by Chiew Lin May

“The best GIFT you could have given to them was a lifetime of FREEDOM!”

Montom released back into the wild on 10th July 2020 after five years of rehabilitation at Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC).

This is wonderful and really makes us know that he deserves it! We wish him the very best with his new freedom of life in the wild!


Wild is Life

Text by Seng Yen Wah
Photos by Chiew Lin May, Tee Thye Lim & Seng Yen Wah

Wild is life for all the wild animals. However, the pet trade is one of the reasons that has been constantly threatening their lives. The animals captured from the wild illegally to supply the demand for exotic pets. Most of the bears in BSBCC had been kept as house pets before being sent here. They were kept in a cold, empty and hard cage from a young age.  This is before they even had a chance to realize that it was not a natural habitat for them. They never knew their natural habitat is the forest if they were kept in a cage. Therefore, the mission of BSBCC is to rehabilitate and to reintroduce them into the forest environment.

After the release of Kitud , Boboi and Tan-Tan in April 2019 and now one year later, BSBCC team is delighted to share with you that we have released Montom, an six years old adult male bear in the wild on the 10th of July 2020! Montom is a beautiful name that means black in the local language, Dusun.  Montom was rescued from Kampung Melangkap, Kota Marudu on the 18th of January 2015 and came to BSBCC on the 21st of January 2015.

​Montom’s story began on a day when there was a dog chasing away a mother bear and the mother bear left a cub behind. The cub is known as Montom now. After that, he was taken and kept as a pet in a chicken wire mesh cage and fed with human food for a year. After five years of rehabilitation, Montom has developed excellent forest survival skills. Montom is an explorer. He enjoys every moment in the forest. He loves to dig. His shiny black fur is usually coated  in a dull brown colour after a whole day of digging. Climbing is one of his favourite forest activities as well. He loves to rest on a tree and let the sunlight shines upon him. He never gets bored in the forest! Montom always surprises us with his potential. He has proven that he is ready to be reintroduced into the wild! 

On the 9th of July 2020, our veterinarian, Dr. Yeoh Boon Nie, conducted a final check-up on Montom. After the check-up, we moved him to a translocation cage. Keepers were closely monitoring him during his recovery from the sedation. 
Our founder & CEO, Dr.Wong check on Montom’s collar condition.
Thye Lim checks and makes sure the satellite collar is functioning well.
BSBCC resident vet, Dr.Boon is checking on Montom.
Dr.Boon insert microchip on Montom.
After the check-up, the keepers move Montom to the translocation cage.
Montom placed in the translocation cage and keeper closely monitoring him.
At 4.55 in the evening, the team was getting ready for loading up the translocation cage. This time, we decided to release Montom in the forest at the northern part of Sabah. The planted forest operates by Forest Solution Malaysia (FSM) of Asian Forestry Company Sabah (AFCS). And hence, we have appreciated the help of FSM in this operation. At 5.05 pm, the bear release team and Montom departed, and they were on the road for an eight-hour journey. It was a long night! 
The cage loaded on a truck and everything was ready.
​After the eight-hour journey, the team and Montom arrived at the northern part of Sabah and met with the team from FSM. Due to one of our’s car condition is not suitable to go to the off-road, we swap the cage to another vehicle. Then, our release team and FSM team departed together to the release site with a four-hour off-road journey. This release operation is more challenging than any of other release operations ever! The FR is mostly hilly with steep slopes and ridges. However, it’s significance to give Montom a second chance of freedom. When we arrived at the site, the sky is still dark. Montom looked mostly calm in the cage. Maybe he knows today is the day he could be free in the forest! He had been waiting for this moment for too long!

The team swap Montom to another vehicle for the off-road trip.
We arrived to the release site at 5 am. The sky is still dark.
The sky is slowly turning blue. The weather is good. Before opening the door, the team made all the final preparations and site inspections. Montom, soon you will enjoy the freedom of your true home where you are originally from. Once the door opened at 6.18 am, he ran straight into the forest and finally disappeared in the woods. We shed our happy tears for him. Montom is finally free! He is finally home! We hope he finds his happiness and enjoys the adventure in the wild. His movement will be monitored by the BSBCC team all the time. Be wild and be happy, Montom. 

The sky is slowly turn blue at 6 am. The weather is good.
After the team made all the final preparations and site inspections, they carry Montom to the release spot.
“All the best, Montom!” - Last goodbye from Dr.Wong
On the 10th of July 2020, at 6.18 in the morning, Montom is finally free! He is finally home!
The BSBCC team would like to say thank you to the Sabah Forestry Department, the Sabah Wildlife Department, the FSM team and everyone who has given us support and assistance. If you would like to provide us with any support, you can visit our website to get more information.  Your help will allow us to sustain our efforts in making a difference for the sun bears’ wellbeing. Sun bears belongs to the forest! Please save the sun bears and let them be happily wild in the wild. Wild is life!

Sun Bear 'Unique Chest Mark'

Video by Chiew Lin May

“Unique chest mark!”
“Unique as our fingerprints!” 

Bintang, Orphaned Sun Bear

Video by Chiew Lin May

Precious little Bintang had been torn from her mother by a poacher. It is a tragedy to lose sun bears from the wild. Sun bears are protected species by both national and international laws.

 Watch Bintang rescue and start to explore her new home - it is a delight to see how brave she is. She is learning and loves the forest world. She looks towards a brighter future. Just look at how happy and healthy she is now! Please share her story!