Sun Bear Update From Samboja Lestari

Sun Bear Update From Samboja Lestari

Posted by Zoe Wilkinson on 22nd Jul 2022

Kate and our incredible team of volunteers have been working hard out in Samboja, building a pond for three of the resident sun bears, Lady, Chris and Daway. After lots of digging, sawing, and concreting by our June volunteer group - the pond was complete!

Volunteers building sun bear enclosure platform

Volunteers celebrating sun bear pond built

However, as Kate explains, the sun bears didn't have quite the reaction you would expect...

“After long-awaited work – Lady, Chris and Daway’s new pond and platform were ready for the big reveal! With most of the finishing touches done it was time to fill up the pond for the first time and let the bears in to see their new fixtures. We were all very excited to see the bears bundle over and jump into their new pond and splash around which has been the reactions we have had in the past from other bears. Now, this would have made for a lovely end story to June's project. What we weren’t expecting was the reaction we actually got. Here is what happened… Daway the male sun bear gallantly ran out into the enclosure and approached the area to get the food we had scattered around, he even sniffed the pond… before he turned around and ran back to his friends, Lady and Chris making fear noises. We immediately realised that this pond was slightly more daunting for him than we had anticipated! 

Sun bear observing pond

Next came the turn of Chris and Lady to explore their beautiful new area. Lady seemed the more confident, with Chris in tow she approached from a different angle to another platform that we had made. But they called it a day after Lady had eaten a few bananas and retreated to an area of their enclosure that we hadn’t interfered with.

Sun bears looking at new pond from distance
 
Fast forward a few days we thought we would try a new strategy to get these 3 bears more used to this corner of the enclosure, we scattered even more food in the area. Typically, pairing food with a new item is a good strategy to help animals get used to it, as it helps to positively reinforce the idea that good things happen when they enter this area. 

Sun bear eating food off platform

Alas, it looks like Lady, Chris and Daway are going to keep us waiting, and until then, we will keep scattering food near the area to help them become more used to it. Hold tight for the next update.“ 


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