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.
At the Sun Bear Sanctuary of BOSF Samboja Lestari, Kalimantan in Indonesia, Enclosure D is now almost complete and fully paid for. It will be the new home for 3 bears who have spent most of their lives in small cages: Petung, Windi and a third bear to be determined. They will be transferred into Enclosure D in January.
All the 13 bears in the Enclosures A, B and C are doing well. There are still a few difficulties in making groups who get along, so we continue moving the bears around to try find the perfect match, but overall the bears all go out in the forest of the enclosures and enjoy a much better quality of life than they had before.
Jeni and Jay in Enclosure A
Maria Enclosure B
After the New Year we will also begin construction of Enclosure E of 0,95 Ha, for another 4 bears. We still need about 5 000 € to complete the budget for this new enclosure and hope you will be able to help fill in the missing funds. Thank you for supporting Sun Bear Outreach in its mission to improve the wellbeing of captive sun bears in Indonesia.
Enclosure C on the left and Enclosure B on the right
At the Sun Bear Sanctuary of BOSF Samboja Lestari, Kalimantan, Indonesia, we built 3 large forest enclosures from January to September 2017 for a total of 13 bears. Our objective is to build another 12 enclosures over an area of 14 Ha so that all the 61 sun bears in the care of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation can have access to their natural environment and enjoy meaningful lives.
Map of the 15 enclosures A to 0.
Work on the next forest enclosure will begin on October 1st, it will be 0,7 hectares in size and will hold 3 bears. The budget for building this enclosure, called Enclosure D, is estimated at about 40 000 USD. This includes the construction of a 330m long fence with its 70cm deep foundation, the purchase and setup of an electric fence as well as the construction of 3 dens and their furnishing. We hope to complete Enclosure D by December 1st.
Arkana in Enclosure A
Jay and Kumala in Enclosure A
I am now in France where I’m actively seeking funds for this new enclosure and I’ll be back in Samboja Lestari Indonesia to supervise the construction of Enclosure D on September 22nd. I hope you can help, any donation is greatly appreciated… thank you for your support.
I write from Tarakan, a small town in North-East Kalimantan, where, in February, I had built wooden climbing structures and platforms in a new large empty cage for 2 female sun bears. I had also taken a young male cub called Brutus from a private owner who did not want him anymore and had introduced him to the two girls. All had gone well and I had left the 3 bears together in the new 8m x 8m (and 4m high) cage.
Moving Brutus to his new cage
Sadly a few days after my departure the people in charge of the bears separated Brutus from the two girls because they had a fight in which Brutus was slightly wounded. So Brutus has since been alone in a small inadequate cage. When I came back to Tarakan about a month ago, I was sad to see how stressed he was, nervously pacing all day in his small cage. He suckled when I patted him, but then went back to frantic pacing at the slightest noise or movement around.
New cage for Brutus
Unfortunately there isn’t any sun bear sanctuary where I could take Brutus to, so I had a new cage built for him, next to that of the two girls, with a corridor linking the two cages so that we can put the 3 bears together again and easily separate them if necessary. We transferred Brutus to his new 4m x 4m cage yesterday and began the introductions with the 2 girls, Rina and Fitri, right away. Brutus and Fitri, the little one, are getting along fine but there is some tension between Brutus and Rina, the bigger female. It might take some time before all 3 bears can be together but at least Brutus is much more relaxed in his new cage.
Brutus in his new cage
Brutus and Fitri
I must go back to Samboja tomorrow to pursue work on my forest enclosures, but I hope the people here will continue letting the Brutus and the two girls together progressively, and that all will go well.
The cost for making this new cage was about 3 000 €. All paid for by Sun Bear Outreach thanks to your kind donations. Thank you for you support.