All Posts By

P. Rouxel

22 February 2017 – UPDATE

New empty cage for Fitri and Rina

New empty cage for Fitri and Rina

I spent the last 8 days in a small town called Tarakan in the North part of East Kalimantan, Borneo, Indonesia. I had been there last year in April to make improvements to the small cage of 2 female sun bears, Fitri and Rina, in a local recreational park. Since, the park authorities built a large 8m x 8m cage (4m high) but it was void of any enrichment and did not have a holding cage. So I went back to Tarakan to improve the new cage and help transfer the bears into it.

New cage with improvements

New cage with improvements

New cage with improvements

New cage with improvements

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had a holding cage built within the new cage and I set up several wooden platforms and climbing structures. I also put up a hammock. While I was there I heard of another sun bear called Brutus, kept in a small cage at someone’s house. I went to meet the bear and the owner who agreed to give his bear to the park authorities so as to put him with Fitri and Rina in the new big cage. This is what we did and it all went very well.

Brutus at his owner's place

Brutus at his owner’s place

Fitri and Rina in their old cage

Fitri and Rina in their old cage

Brutus is a young juvenile who was hand raised by his owner and had never met another bear. He was so happy to meet the 2 girls and they were happy to meet him too. They all began playing as soon as I let them together. Brutus, Fitri and Rina are still in a cage but their life is better now than it has ever been.

Thank you for your support and thank you for making a donation to help me continue improving the welfare of captive sun bears in Indonesia.

 

 

Brutus meeting Fitri and Rina

Brutus meeting Fitri and Rina

Fitri, Rina and Brutus in new cage

Fitri, Rina and Brutus in new cage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brutus and Fitri in new cage

Brutus and Fitri in new cage

20th January Update

Apang before

Apang before

The 3 sun bears, Apang, Kecil and Dawai, have been given access to the small enclosure since January 8th. It took a few trials for Apang and Kecil to understand the electric fencing but they now completely avoid touching the wires. After many years spent in small cages on cement flooring, they can finally enjoy a bit of space, some vegetation, the earth under their feet and stuff to climb. Life is much better for them today than it’s been in a long time.

It’s been more difficult for Dawai, our 3rd candidate to test the electric fencing in the small enclosure. His eyesight is so bad that he can’t see the electric wires on the fence as he approaches them. He was repeatedly getting zapped by bumping into the wires unable to understand what was happening, nor how to avoid getting more zaps. So we stopped the training for Dawai and we’ll have to find another solution… electric fencing is not adequate for bears with too poor eyesight.

Apang now - in small enclosure

Apang now – in small enclosure

Construction of the 2 Ha forest enclosure is going well. 150 meters of new fencing on the South side have been build, and we have another 140 m to go on the East side. We hope to finish the enclosure by the end of February 2017. We are now budgeting the making of another 2 forest enclosures, one of 0,6 Ha and another of 0,7 Ha, each for 3 bears.

Thank you for your support, thank you for making a donation.

Kecil before

Kecil before

Kecil now - in small enclosure

Kecil now – in small enclosure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South fence of the 2 Ha enclosure

South fence of the 2 Ha enclosure

DECEMBER 6th 2016 – VIDEO UPDATE

We’ve made good progress in the last few weeks. We’ve finished the construction of the small enclosure in which the bears will learn to familiarize themselves with the electric fencing. All that needs to be done now is set up the electric fence, then the 3 sun bears Apang, Kecil and Dawai will be able to go out and enjoy a bit of extra space while waiting for the big 2 Ha enclosure to be finished.

Construction of the 2 Ha forest enclosure is now in progress. With your help we should be able to finish it by February 2017. And when it’s done, we’ll make more large enclosures so that all the sun bears at BOS Samboja Lestari may have access to some of their natural habitat.

Thank you for your support

Patrick Rouxel

Work in progress on the enclosure project

I’m happy to share with you this short video explaining the project now under way. The cost to build a training enclosure, 3 holding dens and a 2 hectare forest enclosure is about 50 000 €. You can see the details of this budget in the attached flyer below. (just click on the link)

So far, Sun Bear Outreach have managed to raise 28 000 € of the 50 000 € needed to complete the project. So we now need to find another 22 000 € !

I hope you can help. Any small amount would be very much appreciated, because in the end they all add up, and they’ll allow us to finish this first 2 Ha enclosure, which will be like paradise for the 6 bears who will enjoy it.

On behalf of the bears, thank you for your support.

Patrick Rouxel

sun-bear-enclosure-project-2016-usd

ENCLOSURES FOR SUN BEARS AT SAMBOJA LESTARI

Work for this new project began on October 24th 2016 and despite the daily rains, we have made good progress. One team is dismantling old 1,25 m2 holding cages that we will later reassemble into 9 m2 holding cages for the new forest enclosures. Another team is making the foundation for the future fence of the small enclosure and placing the posts that will support the harmonica mesh and electric fencing. And a third team is making the foundation of the cement flooring on which 3 new holding cages will be placed.

I’m happy that after just one week, the project is well under way and looking good. Thank you for your support.

Patrick Rouxel

02-dismantling-old-cages04-small-enclsoure-foundation

09-foundation-holding-cages

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October Update

I’m happy to inform you that we will soon be beginning the construction of the 4 Ha forest enclosure for the sun bears at BOSF Samboja Lestari in Indonesia. I will be on site from October 17th onwards and will begin construction work right away.

Of the estimated 62 000 euros needed to complete the project, I have so far raised about 25 000 €, so I have enough to begin work but I still need to raise another 37 000 €. This is where your help is precious. Any small amount is greatly appreciated because in the end it all adds up and your contribution will, in affect, enable the completion of the project.

On this note, I would life to thank all students and teachers at the United World College of Singapore (picture above) who recently did a fundraising event for this project and managed to raise 2000 €.

Thank you for your support.

IMPROVING THE WELFARE OF CAPTIVE SUN BEARS

Since 2014, Sun Bear Outreach has focused on improving the wellbeing of captive sun bears who are in the care of organizations dedicated to orang-utans in Indonesia. After making a 1 hectare forest enclosure for 3 sun bears at the Care Centre of the Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) in 2014, we built a 650 m2 enclosure for another two sun bears at OFI in 2015. We then moved on to help the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) improve its facilities for the 45 sun bears in its care at Samboja Lestari in East Kalimantan.

Jay and Lis waiting for their 2 Ha enclosure

Jay and Lis waiting for their 2 Ha enclosure

 

At Samboja Lestari, in 2015/2016, Sun Bear Outreach in collaboration BOSF, focused on building new bigger cages and renovating old ones for the 20 sun bears who were kept in small inadequate cages. For 2017 our present project, is to build several large forest enclosures for these same 20 bears.

The bears at Samboja Lestari are all adults who cannot go back to the wild because they are too habituated to humans and don’t have the skills to survive in the wild. But they don’t deserve to be locked up, on the contrary, they deserve the best possible captive life we can give them, which is to have access to some of their natural habitat and enjoy a social life with other bears.

Forest of the first 2 Ha enclosure

Forest of the first 2 Ha enclosure

 

 

the BOSF Sanctuary in Samboja Lestari. Patrick Rouxel, founder of Sun Bear Outreach, is on site as a long term volunteer, supervising the construction. With the financial support of BOS Switzerland and the funds raised through Sun Bear Outreach, we are now making a 2 hectare forest enclosure, a small training enclosure and a set of 3 holding dens.

The total budget for this first phase is 50 000 €. We hope to finish the work by February 2017 and begin the construction of a second large forest enclosure in March 2017. For the latest update check our NEWS/BLOG.

RAISING AWARENESS ON SUN BEARS

 

Since 2004, Patrick Rouxel, filmmaker for conservation and founder of Sun Bear Outreach, has been producing documentaries independently about the extraordinary biodiversity of the tropical rainforest and its destruction by human activity. Since 2012 he has focused his filming work on the sun bears of Indonesia with the objective of raising awareness locally and internationally.

The film “Beruang Madu” (Honey bear) and was made as an educational tool for the Indonesian public, in collaboration with Dr Gabriella Fredriksson, who runs an educational centre called Kawasan Wisata Pendidikan Lingkungan Hidup (KWLPH) next to Balikpapan in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. “Beruang Madu” is screened several times a week at KWLPH and seen by about 1000 kids a month. It can also be viewed on Youtube.

Beruang Madu – 12 min – 2012 – Tawak Pictures

In 2016, Patrick Rouxel, released a film called “Life is One” on the return to life in the wild for 3 sun bear cubs. The story of these 3 cubs highlights how all life on earth is connected and how we owe respect and compassion to those with whom we share the planet. “Life is One” is not yet available for free streaming on the web, but it will soon be broadcasted around the world and will hopefully shed more international attention on the plight of the sun bears.

For more information visit www.patrickrouxel.com

 

Life Is One – 2016 – Teaser

 

REINTRODUCING SUN BEAR CUBS TO THE WILD

Between August 2011 and September 2014, Patrick Rouxel, founder of Sun Bear Outreach, followed the rehabilitation to life in the wild of 3 orphan sun bear cubs. Then in 2014/2015, he helped coordinate the rehabilitation of another 3 cubs. These were carried out in the National Park of Tanjung Puting, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia with the collaboration of the Orangutan Foundation International (OFI).

All the cubs were brought to the forest and released in a soft and gradual way commonly known as the ‘walk-release method’ established by Dr Gabriella Fredriksson, co-chair of the IUCN Sun Bear expert team. In the wild, cubs follow their mother until they are about 2 years old and which point they become independent and go off to establish their own territories. With Gabriella’s method, a person takes over the roll of the mother bear and stays in the forest with the cub until he becomes autonomous.

Bunbun at peace in the forest

Bunbun at peace in the forest

A camp in the forest serves as base for both the carer and the cub. Every day, from dawn to dusk, the foster parent and the cub wonder in the forest. The cub, driven by hunger and a natural curiosity, will learn to forage for food and climb trees on his own. The simple presence of the a foster parent is enough to chase away any wild bear who could want to harm the cub, or a clouded leopard who could potentially prey on a sun bear cub. In the late afternoon, the foster parent and the cub return to camp where the cub is given supplementary food and locked in a den for the night (away from camp) until the next morning, when a new day of exploring and learning begins. And so on, day after day.

Bunbun exploring the forest

Bunbun exploring the forest

The first cub Patrick brought back to the forest was called Bunbun. She was about one year old when the reintroduction began. She had kept her instinctive fear of humans, which was a good thing and she quickly began going away on her own and disappearing for a day or two before showing up at camp again. Unfortunately, after just 3 months, she got in a fight (probably with another bear) and came back to camp with a broken leg. She was taken back to the OFI clinic where she received treatment and was kept in a small cage for 10 weeks, to allow the bone to heal. Then we brought her back to the forest, but she managed to escape from her transport cage upon arrival at the camp and she ran into the forest never to be seen again.

Six months later, Patrick brought two other cubs to the forest, Bernie and Wawang, who had also been taken captive at a young age from the wild, then confiscated by the local authorities and handed over to the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF). To avoid losing the cubs in the forest like we had lost Bunbun, they were equipped with emitters placed in the abdominal cavity. This implant emits a radio wave that can be picked up by a receiver at a distance of approximately 300 m for about 3 years.

Bernie and Wawang in the forest

Bernie and Wawang in the forest

Unfortunately, after just 6 weeks, Bernie and Wawang ran off one late afternoon, beyond the limit of their tracking device, and spent their first night alone in the forest. The next morning, Wawang’s body was found, lifeless and covered in wounds from what looked like a fight with another bear. But Bernie was alive and she ended spending about 1 year and a half with Patrick in the forest, as she grew older and increasingly autonomous. We hope that she is still out there thriving as a free bear in her natural habitat.

Wawang in the forest

Wawang in the forest

After Bernie left to lead her own life, Patrick began the construction of a one hectare forest enclosure for 3 adult bears who could not go back to the wild, at the Care Centre of the Orangutan Foundation International (OFI). While doing this he participated in the coordination of the release of another 3 cubs: Ori, who sadly was brought back to the OFI Care Centre after 3 months in the forest because his carer abandoned the project, then Koko and Octa who unfortunately disappeared in the forest although they were still not fully autonomous. Despite the tracking devices, Koko and Octa they were never to be found again.

Since, Sun Bear Outreach has not participated in any other reintroductions of cubs to the wild, because we have focused our attention on building large forest enclosures for captive sun bears who cannot go back to the forest. But if the opportunity to release more sun bears to the wild presented itself and if the conditions were favourable, we would certainly try again, because despite the difficulty of the task, we believe that an attempt to a life in the wild is still better than a long life of captivity.

Bernie and Patrick in the forest

Bernie and Patrick in the forest