Bornean Sunbear Conservation 4 Week
The Sun Bear, native to South East Asia, is struggling to survive. Their homelands are being lost rapidly to deforestation and poachers hunt them mercilessly for body parts and fur.
This placement allows you to contribute to vital sun bear conservation, whilst learning more about these incredible mammals.
You will spend two weeks working alongside the team at The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC).
Based approximately 19km from Sandakan, the BSBCC is the only sun bear conservation centre in the world. The key aims of the centre are to provide care and rehabilitation to rescued sun bears and to increase awareness of sun bears internationally.
Your role as a sun bear assistant will include:
The idea of enrichment is to stimulate the animals and improve their living conditions as much as possible to mimic their natural habitat, such as:
- Providing leaves in cages for bedding and nesting purposes
- Buying special fruit to ensure a varied diet
- Putting branches from fig or fruit trees in their homes to observe behaviour
- Rope work – the more varied and fun for the animal the better
- Hiding food around cages to encourage foraging behavior
- Trekking into the jungle in search of termite nests
During your placement, you may be asked to talk to local school children and design an education session for them. You may also be asked to speak to visitors at the centre about sun bears.
In addition, interns are in charge of updating the blog and data entry of the bear behaviour record and the weekly record.
Cleaning is vital as good hygiene helps to prevent disease. This includes the glamourous task of clearing animal faeces, a job which comes with the territory!
Low level maintenance tasks may also be involved, such as daily checks on the facilities, electric fence voltage, weeding to avoid short circuit, painting etc.
No qualifications are required to participate in this programme, but it is a perfect opportunity for anyone who has an interest in or is studying Wildlife Conservation or Zoology.
At the end of your intern placement, you will join our other volunteers and stay in two Camps International locations. You will gain a deeper understanding of Borneo and make a personal contribution to some of our vital project initiatives.
Camp Batu Puteh
Batu Puteh is all about getting back to nature! Our jungle camp is set in the heart of one of Borneo’s most ancient forests along the banks of the Kinabatangan river where you’ll get the chance to live alongside elephants and orangutans for an experience that’s hard to beat.
Our camp offers three types of accommodation and you’ll hopefully get a chance to try them all:
- Jungle camp: Get back to basics and experience true adventure. Learn how to rough it in the jungle with local guides accompanying you and showing you the ropes. Sleep in a hammock and cook over a camp fire before falling asleep to the soothing sounds of the forest.
- Eco camp: A little more luxury but still an exciting wilderness experience. This camp offers raised camping platforms where you can enjoy camping in the great outdoors.
- Homestay: Live with one of the friendly local families in their home and experience what daily life is really like. Meet the children, eat the same meals together and sleep in a nice comfy bed!
Location: 350 km (6 hours drive) from Kota Kinabalu Airport & 60 km from Lahad Datu
- Jungle Camp: Hammock, tarpaulin & mosquito net. No toilet or washing facilities – completely back to nature!
- Eco Camp: Tents with comfy mattresses & bedding. Flushing toilets, cold showers & sinks
- Homestay: Guest room in family home for 2-3 volunteers with comfy beds and bedding
Power: Mains electricity in homestay only (British 3 pin power sockets). Gas lighting available in eco camp
Phone Signal: Intermittent
Meals: Three healthy, well balanced and tasty meals a day e.g. bread, rice/noodles for breakfast; rice, curry with veg for lunch/dinner & fruit
Signature dish: Local cakes – Linggang & Gelang
If you’re feeling brave: Try a fern salad!
Social: River cruise available, chilling area, camp shop, jungle treks
This charming camp is situated just beyond the rural Rungus community of the same name and is in keeping with the rest of the village, giving you a really authentic experience and immersing you fully in the local culture. In no time at all this will feel like your home away from home and the hospitality and friendliness of the locals will make you not want to leave!
Each longhouse has a corridor running the length of the structure. On one side there is communal space for chilling out and socialising, on the other side are sleeping rooms. Traditionally entire families would live in a single longhouse that may be up to 100 ft long.
Location: 140 km (3 hours drive) from Kota Kinabalu Airport & 15 km from Ranau
Accommodation: Traditional longhouses with comfy mattresses & bedding including mosquito net. Flushing toilets, cold water showers & sinks
Power: Mains electricity. British 3 pin power sockets
Phone Signal: Yes
Meals: Three healthy, well balanced and tasty meals a day e.g. bread, pancakes, rice/noodles for breakfast; rice, sweet & sour fish with veg for lunch/dinner & fruit
Signature dish: Sweet & Sour seafood dishes/BBQ
If you’re feeling brave: Try bee larvae or Parson’s nose satay!
Social: Chilling hut, volleyball court, badminton & board games. Small community shop nearby
Manager at Camp Bongkud, she might be small, but Eve is a force to be reckoned with. Super organised and tons of fun, she’ll get you addicted to coconut jam and dancing in true Sabahan style.
day to day
Welcome to Borneo
Arrive in Kota Kinabalu, where you will be met at the airport by a member of our Camp Borneo team and transferred to your accommodation in the city.
Transfer to APE Malaysia
Today we will transfer you overland to Sandakan to meet the APE Malaysia team who are partnered with the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. Here you will meet the other interns in your group and you will enjoy a welcome dinner and a briefing from a member of the APE team.
Today you will head to The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. You will meet the team and be taken on a tour of the centre before your placement starts tomorrow.
3-14 Project Days
Your working hours at BSBCC are 8am-5pm Monday to Friday.
Weekends are usually free time (this can be subject to change according to programme requirements).
A member of the Camp Borneo team will pick you up from BSBCC around midday and you will be transferred to one of our camps to join other Camps volunteers and work on our projects.
Camps International Programme
Camp locations and projects will vary depending on your date of travel. Please speak to a member of our UK team for a detailed itinerary.
Say your goodbyes and we will take you to the airport for your flight.
Top up your trip
Add some extra adventure to your time in South East Asia. All top ups bookable through our friendly travel advisors.
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Don’t forget… flights, travel insurance, visas and vaccinations. Please note, you must be over 18 years old at time of departure.