As the coronavirus spreads around the world and countries lock down one after the other, it becomes increasingly difficult for many animal rescue centres that depend financially on visitors and volunteers to be able to meet their running costs and feed their animals. The Wildlife Rescue Centre (WRC) of Jogjakarta in Indonesia is one of those centres with 150 animals in its care, from crocodiles to orang-utans.
Sibin – Binturong at WRC
Before the COVID crisis, WRC was raising about 2000 USD every month from volunteers who paid to come help at the refuge. This monthly income which barely allowed WRC feed the animals is now gone. Last week, in a desperate measure to get funds, WRC had decided to cut down 3 beautiful old trees on its site and sell the wood to a carpenter. Sun Bear Outreach managed to save the trees by hastily sending 600 Euros to WRC. This is how desperate they are.
Teagan – Sun Bear at WRC
Mungil – Orangutan at WRC
I understand that times are difficult for most of you but if you can, please help Sun Bear Outreach support the Wildlife Rescue Centre of Jogjakarta. You can of course also help them directly by donating through their website. Thank you.
Construction of the 15 forest enclosures (A to O) is going well at Samboja Lestari, the rescue centre of Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF). They are all done except for one, Enclosure J, which we are now working on.
Asri and India
We recently moved a group of 7 juvenile bears in Enclosure A, of 1,7 hectares (about 4 acres) in size. These 7 buddies all come from different backgrounds: Deni and India had arrived as cubs at Samboja and were taken out for walks in the forest for the first 6 months, then they had to be kept in a cage when they became unmanageable outdoors. So they are very happy to be able to go out again. Some, like Berung, Asri, Borela and Tapir, have probably never been out in the forest before and this is a big learning experience for them, putting to the test their ability to climb trees.
Deni and India
The last one, Bernard, just arrived a few weeks ago at the rescue centre. He was probably kept all of his life in a tiny cage and his skeleton hasn’t developed properly, he walks with difficulty. For him, going out in the forest has been a huge event: he discovered his love for digging! He digs for the pleasure of digging.
After letting all the bears out on the first day, Bernard didn’t come back for 3 days, he was probably somewhere in the middle of the enclosure digging his way to the other side of the Earth. But he eventually got hungry and, on the fourth day, found his way back to the cage.
The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation now has 4 sun bear cubs!
-Pampy (6 months old) female, arrived at BOS Samboja on 14 September, now going out in the forest every day at the rescue centre.
-Madu (7 months old) male, arrived at BOS Samboja on 17 November, now friends with Pampy and just about to begin going out in the forest with her.
-Khala (3 months old) female, arrived at BOS Samboja on 18 October, too small to be with Pampy or Madu, but goes for walks in the forest between her milk bottles and her naps.
-Tinka (3 months old) female, now at Nyaru Manteng, the other BOS centre in Central Kalimantan. (soon to be transferred to Samboja)
Pampy Oct 2019
I’m suggesting to BOS that we try release Pampy and Madu in one of their orangutan release sites, and Khala and Tinka in another. The plan would be to get Pampy and Madu out there in March 2020 and Khala and Tinka in April or May 2020. Then they would be “walked” daily in the forest for about 18 months, until they become independent and autonomous. It’s a unique opportunity to give these 4 orphaned cubs a chance to live the life that they should have had. If we don’t do it now, they will spend the next 25 to 30 years in captivity.
Madu Nov 2019
I have 2 volunteers helping me now at Samboja with the cubs, but they won’t be staying long, a third volunteer is coming soon with an 18 months commitment to take the two older cubs out. So I’m still looking for another long term volunteer for the two younger cubs.
Khala Oct 2019
Sun Bear Outreach and BOS Switzerland are fundraising for this, to pay for the expenses of the cubs, the local staff needed and to reimburse the expenses of the volunteers.
Thanks for helping.
It’s a chance for all of us to do something right!
Maria arrived at Samboja Lestari in East Kalimantan, Borneo in 2008 with her male partner called Fahri. They were both originally from Sumatra and had spent some years in a rescue centre in Sulawesi. At Samboja they were kept in separate cages by fear of reproduction, so one of the first things I did when I arrived at Samboja in 2015 was to have Fahri undergo a vasectomy and put him back with Maria. I also had a new cage built for them.
Maria and Fahri were happy to be reunited and my next mission was to build a large forest enclosure for them. Unfortunately Fahri died in January 2017 of a kidney failure before the enclosure was finished. Poor Fahri never got a chance to play in the forest with his girlfriend Maria.
Maria and Fahri 2016
Finding a new friend for Maria proved to be very difficult. We tried with at least 10 different bears but it never worked out. Either Maria was afraid of them or they were afraid of her, until Roni came along. Roni arrived at Samboja Lestari in September 2019 from Nyaru Menteng, the other BOS refuge in Central Kalimantan. Roni is still a young male, perhaps 4 to 5 years old, but unlike most sun bear males he is very gentle with females. Perhaps this is why Maria likes him. In Nyaru Menteng, Roni used to share a cage with a female who just avoided him, but with Maria that is not the case anymore and they spend a lot of time playing together, as if catching up for lost time.
Maria and Roni now share a 0,6 hectare forest enclosure.
All is going well with the construction of the enclosures at the Borneo Orangutan Survival sanctuary in Samboja, East Kalimantan. We recently received 7 new bears from the other BOS sanctuary in Nyaru Menteng who will soon be going into the new forest enclosures. One of the bears is a 5 months old cub named Pampy.
Pampy, September 16th 2019
Pampy will not be going into an enclosure because the plan is to re-introduce her to the wild following the “walk-release” method. Two volunteers will act as “foster mothers” exploring the forest daily with Pampy who will naturally follow them as she would her real mother until she progressively grows independent and decides to lead her own life at about 2 years old.
Pampy, September 16th 2019
The first mother is already at Samboja walking Pampy daily from 7am to 5pm, but we are still looking for a second volunteer who can commit to spending the next 18 months with Pampy. We will also need to equip Pampy with a tracking device and transfer her to a release site in the heart of Borneo where the 2 volunteers will continue to accompany her to her freedom.
Pampy, not afraid of hights
Of course all this will require funds, which we don’t have right now. So please feel free to make a designated donation to Pampy and I will make sure the money actually goes to her.
I’m happy to write that the 4 bears Jojo, Haq, Christie and Wiwin are now enjoying their new home called Enclosure F : a 0,8 hectare (2 acres) enclosure of dense rainforest. These bears have known nothing more than metal cages, concrete walls and cement flooring, so having access to a bit of their natural habitat is a huge improvement to their lives. I am particularly happy for Jojo who was kept alone for many years in a dark and damp walled in cage no bigger than 1 square meter. He now has a large forest parc and 3 girls to share his life with.
Christie Enclosure F
Haq in Enclosure F
The construction of the other enclosures G to O is about 80% completed. We are now finishing the dens and setting up the electric fencing in these 9 enclosures. Soon we will move another 2 bears to Enclosure 0 which is just about ready.
The project of building a 0,8 hectare forest enclosure and 4 dens for the sun bears of the Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) in Central Kalimantan is still in its planning and fundraising stage. I hope to begin construction work in September 2019. On this date, we’ve raised about 75% of the 48.000 USD necessary for making this new enclosure, so every donation is more than welcomed.
Thanks to the financial support of BOS Switzerland, the construction of the sun bear enclosures at BOS Samboja Lestari in East Kalimantan Indonesia is going very well. Rather than making the enclosures one by one as we had been doing (from A to E), we are now building all the 10 remaining enclosures (F to O) at the same time. We have 2 construction teams working simultaneously, one making the dens and one the fences. We hope to have the 10 enclosures F to O ready by the end of July 2019!
Construction of 2 dens for enclosure M
Fence between enclosure F and G
These 10 new enclosures will be able to accommodate up to 42 bears. Many of these bears have spent their lives in cages and will finally have access to a bit of their natural habitat for the very first time. The objective is that all the 62 sun bears who are presently in the care of BOS Foundation be able to lead a descent life in a forested environment. And on the whole, the bears who are already living in the enclosures A to E seem to be doing quite well.
Apang and Kumala in Enclosure D
Sun Bear Outreach also plans to make a 0,8 hectare forest enclosure and 4 dens for the sun bears at the Care Centre of the Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) in Central Kalimantan. The budget needed for this is USD 48 000. On this date, we’ve raised about 50% of the necessary funds so every donation is more than welcomed.
It took longer than planned, but Enclosure E was finally completed in June and 3 bears, Oscar, Arkana and Sibear are now enjoying it. Arkana is particularly happy because she really hates being locked up. She arrived at Samboja Lestari as a cub many years ago and went for daily walks in the forest until she got too big to handle. She was then kept in a cage for many years but is now happy to have some space and freedom again. She loves to climb the trees and sleep in them.
During the months of July and August we had a new “training enclosure” built. This is small enclosure of about 300 m2 in which the bears learn about electric fencing. They usually spend a few weeks in this enclosure where they can be monitored and are then transferred to a large forest enclosure in which they recognise the same electric fence that they have learnt to respect. So we now have 2 training enclosures at Samboja where up to 6 bears can get ready for the large forest enclosures.
Oscar and Sibear
We are now beginning work on Enclosure F at Samboja Lestari. This enclosure will be 0,95 hectares in size with 4 dens. The 4 bears who will be moved to this new enclosure are now in the Training Enclosure, learning about the electric fencing. Enclosure F will be entirely paid for by BOS Switzerland and we hope to finish it by the end of November.
This fall Sunbear Outreach also plans to make another 1 hectare forest enclosure and 5 dens for the bears at the Care Centre of the Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) in Central Kalimantan. The budget needed for this is USD 48 000. OFI doesn’t have the resources to help financially, so Sunbear Outreach needs to find all the funds on its own. I hope to raise the money and get the enclosure built before the end of 2018 so that it can become a new home for a poor bear kept in very bad conditions in a town called Tanjung Selor, as you can see on the pictures.
We are still working on the construction of Enclosure E at the sun bear sanctuary of BOSF in East Kalimantan. The rains and the difficulty of bringing the supplies to the construction site have considerably slowed the progress but we hope to finish this new 0,7 hectare forest enclosure before May 15th.
Construction of Giono’s new den
In the mean time, we did a small outdoor enclosure for an old bear called Giono. This bear has difficulties coordinating his movements due to neurological problems. He moves around very slowly and he can’t climb, so we built an enclosure especially for him. It is about 150 m2 in size with an attached den where Giono can shelter from rain and sun.
We moved Giono to his new home on the 28th April. The door between the den and the outdoor enclosure is left open so that he can chose to go wherever he pleases. He seems happy to feel the forest floor under his feet and is moving around sniffing the forest and digging in cool shaded places where he can rest.
Giono in his new den
Gino going out into the enclosure
I would like to personally thank all the volunteers who have helped build this new den and enclosure as well as the people who have donated funds to Sun Bear Outreach enabling us to buy the material needed for the construction.
At the Sun Bear Sanctuary of BOSF Samboja Lestari, Kalimantan, Indonesia, Windi and Petung have been enjoying the Enclosure D with its 0,67 Ha of forest since January 17th. Windi has hardly been seen since the 17th, she spends all her time inside the enclosure behind the tree cover. Her quest for privacy shows in hindsight how much she must have suffered during the long years spent in her cage, never able to get away from humans into her own space.
Windi when I first met her in 2015
I sometimes meet Windi in the dens in the late afternoon when all is quiet and she seems happy and calm. Petung, however, is having a hard time adapting to his new environment. He used to be best buddies with Windi, but now he is very often seen alone, pacing along the fence of the enclosure. I suspect Windi is chasing Petung away, but I don’t know why. I’m waiting a little in the hope that they will sort things out by themselves, before I add another female to the group hoping that a third party will resolve Petung’s issue.
Windi and Petung going into the enclosure for the first time
Work on Enclosure E has begun. It will be about 0,7 Ha in size, it has some nice big trees and will be the new home for another 3 bears. The daily rains are considerably slowing down the work in progress, but little by little we’ll finish this one too, and move on to the next enclosure. We still need about 4500 EUR to finish Enclosure E, so any donation is more than welcomed.