I am lucky that during the course of my day to day work I get to visit some great places.  And finally over the weekend I got to visit the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre at Sepilok – this is a very special place since teams from Camps have been working there on and off for the past few years, as well as it being designed and built by our friends at Arkitrek.  Its not been opened long and I have seen friends raising funds and assisting on the project for quite a while now.  I also visited the previous arrangement at the site for captured sun bears and it was very depressing to see but that was all that the state could offer which was better than nothing.  But now the Centre is open – its right next to the Orangutan Sanctuary at Sepilok and I was surprised how many tourists did not make the effort to visit despite being there to see the Orangutans – and to be honest the sun bears were actually a lot more interesting!  So here’s a few quick shots of one of the teenage female bears, who had been given a coconut to play with and open.  She was extremely adept at ripping off the outer husk in a matter of minutes – I know how tricky this is having done some of this on old coconuts for our cococrete walls at our Tinangol kindergarten project – its not easy and needs skill, technique and strength.  She got to the hard inner shell and started to balance the spherical object in her front paws, then stand up and try and throw it onto hard ground.  This is even more impressive if you see that Sun Bear paws are designed for digging and have huge long claws on them.  In between throws she would hold the coconut with her hind feet whilst trying to get a claw into a weak spot and prize it open.  She got in it in the end after about 10 minutes of hard work and perceverance and I watched her lie on her back and drink the juice before tucking into the white flesh.  Truely amazing as is the Centre itself – beautifully designed and brilliant to see these bear having the chance to roam, explore and dig – its unlikely that many of them will be rehabilitated after the horror stories they have been through, but at least they will see out their days in a fantastic place, free to play and be a bear, and hopefully educate a whole lot of people along the way.  Go visit it if you get the chance and for most teams coming out to Borneo with Camps you should get the opportunity to go.  

Sun Bear standing on its hind legs

Sun Bear standing on its hind legs

Throwing up the coconut

Trying to find the way into the coconut