Thursday, 16 February 2012

Looking for the bear necessities with Alpha 4


A blog from Cecile in Alpha 4 (pictured front row first on the left).
Most of the venturers in Alpha 4 didn’t know much about the sun bear, the smallest species of bear in the world found primarily in the tropical rainforests of South East Asia, until they watched a short but emotive video and then they knew all they needed to know. They were about to embark on a really important project to help the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC). Here is the actual video that brought tears to the eyes of Alpha 4.
Watch BSBCC Sun Bear mini video


The smallest bear in the world is indeed a victim of its small size. It has become commonplace for a sun bear to become an exotic family pet in South East Asia because when they are young they are so small and cute. But...as they grow older they grow bigger and bigger and become aggressive, just as you would expect a bear to.  The owners then keep the bears in very small cages, in which they can’t even move.  The sanctuary had one of these cages kept after the rescue of one of the sun bears and Alpha 4 members tested out the cage. Left, Joost inside a cage used by people who kept a sun bear as a pet.
The second threat to the sun bear is that it is hunted for use in Chinese medicine, most commonly for its bile. For now there is little awareness about those issues in the world especially in Malaysia. But after seeing the presentation and video, we all felt extremely sad and concerned, and even more willing to help.
We then met Wong, one of the founders of the sun bear centre. He works hard for the rehabilitation of the bears which have been kept in captivity. They are indeed not used to living in the jungle, they don’t know how to scavenge or how to climb trees. Some of them are so disturbed and stressed they daren’t go outside. We have to keep very quiet and still around their enclosures as they are cautious of people.



So what are Alpha 4 doing during phase 1?
We are building a walkway using reclaimed sustainable wood (previously used in a rhino sanctuary) around the forest enclosure, so that the keepers can get access to feed and monitor the bears whilst they are outside. The area is currently very waterlogged and muddy and access is restricted. Here are Alpha 4 doing a site recce and inspecting the wood that they have reclaimed so far.
The centre is yet to open to the public, so the Raleigh venturers  are getting exclusive access to these beautiful creatures. The BSBCC is located next door to the famous Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary which gets lots of tourists and it is hoped these visitors will also be interested in visiting the future Sepilok Sun Bear Centre which would raise awareness and hopefully inspire people to help just like Alpha 4 are!
For the latest pictures from Alpha 4 click here

7 comments:

Anne Mapson said...

Hi Nick, Just a short note to say that I miss you very much.I really do need to see another picture of you!! I see from the blog that the first group of divers have achieved their PADI qualifications, which must mean that you are soon going to start your diving.I hope that you are in one piece after your trek!All is fine here. Rebecca is staying with Tim for a few days. Dad has just taken Henry for a very long walk. The killer queens have gone mousing in the field, with Tilly sporting yet another new collar!I am off to work soon.
I think of you often and imagine what you might be doing.Everyone sends their love to you.I miss you loads, Mum(Bert!!) xxx

Lynda Denny said...

Well Halloo William
It looks like you're having lots of fun with the Alpha 4 ladies! That's ma boy!! We've been watching the video on the Sun Bear Centre web site and it is really quite disturbing. Do as much as you can to help them! it's a fantastic cause and a wonderful opportunity to do some good in this world. I wish I was over there myself but I wouldn't want to cramp your style. It would appear that you have made a big impression already from the photos!!!!
Hope you've been getting some of the post that we've been sending. Not sure that the chocolate will have survived! I'm looking forward to receiving a letter from you!!!!!
All our love Mum Dad Claudia Bruce Digby Monty and the fish and Banta xxxxxxxxxx

Anonymous said...

Hello Alpha 4, thank you for posting this. It is great to see and hear about the good work you are doing for the bears.

Message for Will Sabine: lovely to see your smiling face! Missing you loads. Hope our letters are making it through to you. And hope everyone likes your mess tins and you have enough to put in them! Luke is skiing so only Teddy here to keep us company. He is missing you too but has taken to sleeping on our bed every night.

With lots of love, Mum and Andy xx

Jane Brownley said...

Hi Will Denny,
Looks like you are settling in well with the group. Hope you get the chance to make a very positive difference to the bear conservation that will keep the cause going from strength to strength. Keep up your hard work.
Love Aunty Jane and Uncle Neil x

Anonymous said...

Hey Locky how are you? I hope this message finds you and Jase in good health as it leaves us happy knowing that we just read this article. And I hope your sitting down cos Jerome was born yesterday morning and he's home now at 15 Mile, he's a very hungry boy too. Also nanna is holding unbarl for you tubala when you mob get back home.

Ethan has made the grand finals in footy defeating Nightcliff by a margin 66 points and Misilas won his second game in Basketball by a margin too 40+ points. Both were very elated and we had to stop budda Misilas from eating straight after the game - cramp na bingy lol. And Tido's game is up to no good, you might have come back and take him out bush again to help get his speed back lol.

Well ma Locky we have to log off only cos budda mob want to go on-line too. Thinking of you and Jase every night and hope that you tubala are enjoying yourselves over there. And remember to always have fun cos we can't wait to hear all the stories...

Love you xoxo

martin croston said...

Hiya Christina
Saw your blog, im so proud of you and what you are doing, keep your chin up love, we have written to you, love you loads
Dad xx

Nonoche said...

AHHH Mon Céciloche,

tu me fais rêver sur ta photo! J'espère que todos bien pour toi! ça a l'air fou! J'ai adoré les gens pleins de boue. Je t'ai envoyé un sms mais 1 semaines après j'ai reçu :" message non-transmis à Cécile".... bon bah temps pis!

Tu me manques mon petit. Je suis en PANIQUE en plus ces jours. je pars dans 20 jours!(je me rends compte que je vais être seule en fait ^^, bien nono :P) Et sinon me suis inscrite à Fribourg aussi. haha en communication. Si je loupe le sport je viens avec vous dans la contrée bilingue. (et oui me suis inscrite dans 3 unis)

Je te fais mille fois des bisous. Je t'aime fort, profite bien mon amour!!

Nonoche