Volunteers in Borneo have been busy at it of late, working hard to help the sun bears at the rehabilitation centre to embrace their wild side. Through their hard work, the centre is able to provide some of the best facilities in the world for rehabilitating these tiny bears.
Each of the sun bears which have been rescued to the centre in Borneo have come from captivity and cruel conditions, a far cry from life in the wild that they deserve. Previously kept in cramped conditions and isolated from others of their species, most of these cuddly-looking bears are brought here suffering mentally and physically. The work of the centre is to help rehabilitate them, which is done through enrichment, care and conservation.
The rehabilitation period spans several years. As many of the sun bears come in lacking the skills to look after themselves, they have to learn for themselves how to forage, hunt, climb, balance, make tree nests, socialise and protect themselves. Enrichment is essential to aid this process, and the use of fire hoses has been able to dramatically improve their living conditions here.
Fire hoses, which are strong and flexible, are ideal for hammocks and climbing structures. These hammocks and structures can bend, wobble and be climbed and the bears sleep and play in them as well. This is important to encourage the bears to climb, rather than simply remain on the floor as they are used to. Living within the trees is essential in the wild, as it keeps the bears safe when sleeping and provides a vital skill for food hunting- climbing for honey.
In 2014 the Malaysian fire department donated a large stockpile of decommissioned fire hoses for use in the enrichment process of the sun bears. This has dramatically improved their living conditions and volunteers have been very busy helping to create new climbing structures and hammocks for the bears to use. This initiative will now be rolled out at other protection centres around Malaysia and Indonesia.
Volunteers are important parts of the team to help create these enrichments and come up with ideas for further improvements. If you would like to become prat of this venture to protect and conserve sun bears in Borneo, check out our sun bear conservation project here.