Saturday, 18 August 2012

Bryony and the Bears. Alpha 4 Phase 2

By Bryony Hutchinson

I don’t think I ever registered that when I volunteered with Raleigh Borneo, there was the remotest possibility that I would be less than three metres from a wild Orang-utan. Insane, seriously, you cannot imagine it!

We walk to work each morning and more often than not Sepilok is buzzing with animal noises; squirrels chattering, hornbills, red leaf monkeys, macaques and most intriguingly ... Sun Bears barking. Yep, a little known fact about the ‘forgotten bear’ is that they bark, like a louder version of a yappy terrier with a smidgen of Great Dane growl. It’s an impressive sound for what is really quite a small creature. We are some of the fortunate few that get a backstage pass to one of the most amazing wildlife locations in Borneo. Our particular project is building bear enrichment areas (bear playgrounds and training areas) for one of the least known endangered species- Sun Bears.

After being here for a couple of weeks I thought I’d write a blog about them to share what I have learnt so far. The bears are fairly dog like in terms of teeth, excellent sense of smell, growling, barking and a devotion to Pedigree dog treats! They are about the size of a Labrador and are pretty shy, to the point where they bark at strangers, but unlike dogs their single biggest threat is loss of habitat.  The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) is an organisation that rescues orphaned/ captive bears, and depending on their situation and experience, seeks to return them to the wild. This is often dependent on the success of their training and how much human contact they have been exposed to.
So this is where Alpha 4 come in; our enrichment areas are designed to teach the bears to climb and nest at height- a massive part of their life skills, whilst offering them shelter and sun bathing areas. Yes- Sun Bears like to sun bathe! We have completed one enrichment area which was started in Phase 1, designed two more and are currently sweating our way through constructing our two newest designs.

The new structures have stretched our creative and constructive brains to the max! Brilliant Alpha 4 minds have come up with a steel tire tree and a structure we have named ‘The Tripod’. We hope that our next design will incorporate as many climbing frames, nesting areas and feeding options as we can think of using bellian, or’ iron’ wood, fire hose and old tires. All in all we are pretty busy and working hard.

At the end of a long, hot, sweaty day in Sepilok the luxuries of Jungle Camp are a welcome sight- bucket showers are not to be underestimated! In all seriousness, getting back to camp and enjoying a 3 in 1 coffee whilst waiting for amazing Raleigh Rations (I love our groups culinary skills) is proving to be a joy I would not pass up!

So although my bruises have bruises, freckles have taken over 80% of my body, and unfortunately by addiction to peanuts and all peanut related snacks has increased, fortunately my construction ‘jungle guns’ (arm muscles for the parents reading this) are constantly growing!


Anonymous said...

I trust the sponsorship by Channel 4 TV materialises.
Adam to explain.
Ref pic BOR_12D_VR_E_A4_Sepilok+%252835%2529.jpg

Good to see Happy Faces - Dad

Bea Ainslie said...

Emma Hay Alpha whatever..
Hey lovely! Saw loads more pictures of you this time! Finally! Haaa you're looking good in them too you will be pleased to know :) so Amy might not be back for November.. If she doesn't go to Michael McIntyre do I get her ticket instead of Aaron?? As I made your room beautiful.. AGAIN! Love and miss you lots! BeatRice xxxx

Mum said...

EMMA HAY ALPHA SOMETHING (Wish you wouldn't keep changing them!! LOL)

Photo's are up Whoop!! you look fabulous in them all. Love the 'see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil' just what I love. Hope things are going well with you. Miss you and love you lots

Dervla said...

For Fiona Bailey

Hi Fiona,

It was good to read Bryony's blogg and even better to see some photo's of you, looking great girl!

I've posted them on fb for you.

The sun is shining in Höllviken so I'm off out on my bike,

Love Dervla

indra singam said...

dear manjuli...........
waitn eagerly to see the ceremony fotos-and recent ones-how come not all are featured?
eagerly waitn for 25th.hope ur eatin well.
Dubai don is down and havn his usual menu!!!!!
bye for 2day.
ur S.A.

nana caldwell said...

emma hay alpha 4 dear emma nana calling love all the photos of you this time they are realy good two weeks today cant wait see you soon honey all our love nana popa and billyxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Siena Martin said...

For Sabrina Thomas, Alpha 1- Komborongo.
Dearest Caribbena,
Yoyoyo. How's it going? I hope you get this on the loop, or at changeover, or somewhere. I'm not so sure I'm using the internet correctly after 7 weeks cold turkey. Anyways, life at home is super strange without all of you dudes. I'm in Wales, still climbing hills and drinking milo, nostalgically. I had a cider on your behalf on august 12th, in the sunbear t-shirt (obviously)- Also, Thank you so so much for the wicked birthday card! It's ace. I hope you are still having an amazing time at Komborongo- very jel!- and I can't wait to hear all about it in LDN. Until then...
Stay cool. Take care. Ciao for now.
Warburtons. Siena xxxxx

Mandy steward said...

Hi Ben (Allon-Smith) phase 3 trek and dive.
(written Sunday evening, 19th Aug)
Great to see Bryony's write up of your phase 2 including 6 photos of you. Love the muddy one holding a bucket and also one holding wood showing off your "jungle guns".
Can't believe you'll be home 2 weeks from now. We're all so looking forward to seeing you and hearing all your news. I will be at H'thrw to meet you.
An envelope arrived from Durham 2 days ago. I am returning 2 basic forms (as due back by 1st Sept)just giving your mobile number and initial personal interests to help assign a "college parent". I needed to provide subjects studying, sporting interests (mentioned running 5/10k, marathon 3hr 13m; then also road cycling incl to Rome. Other interests I wrote Raleigh Borneo. Didn't say anything about music or drama skills!! Lots of other forms and on line replies due back to Durham by 7th Sept so i'll leave them to you.
I'm now half way thr' my 2 week holiday at home. A bit more organised at home and I am far more relaxed. On Friday we camped at Sayer's Croft with T and 6 other sch friends and parents. Really fun.
So, HAPPY HAPPY 19TH BIRTHDAY FOR WEDNESDAY 22ND. WE WILL BE THINKING OF YOU. I guess you may be deep in the jungle being leeched so a birthday to remember that is for sure.
Big hugs and kisses, loads of love, Mum xxxx

Yvonne Bailey said...

Hi Fiona
Great to see all the photos. Looks like hard work. How are the muscles coming along.
We've had a long weekend of celebrations. Chris and Steph got engaged so there was a party in the Golf club on Sat Night and today Carol had a party celebrating Rachel's 21st Caroline's 18th Kerry and Carol's 50+ !!!!!!!!!! Great time had by all.
Everyone was asking for you. Elise would loved to have gone out and wants to see loads of photos.
Love from all here. Mum PS there is a wedding invitation for you and guest to Clare and Darren's wedding

Anonymous said...

Emma hay alpha two.or 4

hey babey how are you doing miss you loads two weeks today not long now hope your still im missing you like crazy i told you i would find some intrnet i love you so much will post some more depends what mood i am in hahaha xxxx btw i got a kick ass tan london is so hot i aint had. a top on for two.days ahaha so basically your gona look white me rofl love you xxxxxxxx

asian expedition said...

WoW!!! lovely blogs and photographs. Adventure camping excites me a lot. we are trekking and tours company operating in Nepal for the adventure travels in Nepal. Nepal offers a lot of things like peak climbing,trekking , mountaineering. Traveling Nepal is a life time experience which you couldn't regret.
Expedition in Nepal

Donna Kelly said...

To Fiona Bailey:

Hey Darling,

So good to see some proper photos of u finally! Looks like u are having a blast... i can only imagine and be extremely jealous until u get here and tell me all ur stories!

Hope ur enjoying ur final phase. Im off home next week (scary thought!) so when i talk to u next it'll be from the emerald isle.

Planning loads for when u arrive, Looking forward to it

Lotsa love!! xxx

nana caldwell said...

hi emma hay alpha4 nana here counting down now 12 days to go miss you darling and cant wait till next sunday everyone here is fine and dandy love you see you soon nana popa and billy xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Mrs Outerbridge said...

Hi Amon:

looks like you're having fun while working hard in Borneo. Lots of smiles as well. Continue to do well, and can't wait to hear all about your experience while on expedition when you return home next month. Sept is almost here.