Saturday, 4 August 2012

10 Things You Didn't Know About Sun Bears

By Amy Sedghi

Alpha 4 will be building bear refuges and marking out new bear enclosures during their time in Sepilok. The refuges will be made out of reclaimed wood, designed and built by the Venturers. Sun Bears naturally climb and forage for food but those that have been orphaned or kept in captivity do not always know how to do this. The refuges will not only provide a safe place for them when there is heavy rain and flooding, but will also help to teach the bears to climb, play and look for food.

Here are ten facts I have learnt about Sun Bears whilst with Alpha 4:

1) Sun Bears are the smallest of the bear species.

2) They have the longest tongue of any bear species at 18 inches.

3) They have the biggest canines(teeth) realtive to any other bear species. Their teeth are strong enough to chew through bellian wood, also known as diamond wood.

4) A male Sun Bear has shorter fur than a female Sun Bear.

5)The baby Sun Bear will follow its mother around for up to two years.

6) A Sun Bears claws grow throughout its lifetime- it is therefore possible to tell a Sun Bears age by the length of its claws.

7) Loss of habitat through deforestation is one of the main threats to the Sun Bear. Poaching and    selling bear parts is also threatening the species.

8) There are no official numbers of how many Sun Bears there are in the wild

9) Tigers and pythons have been know to be a Sun Bear's predator.

10) Sun Bears bark- they use it to scare away predators, declare territory and communicate.

Friday, 3 August 2012

12I Vs have been allocated and deployed!

After five days of training and getting to know their Delta groups it was time to put the Venturers new found skills to use. On Friday morning the last training session was completed and the V's sat down in their Delta groups for the last time. From here on in they would be in brand new Alpha teams ready to deploy to their project sites.

So this is what you've been waiting for, where is everyone going for the next three weeks?

Alpha 8: Gravity Water Feed in Kampung Borobi
PMs Helen and Angela

Chirag Shah, Claire Ball, Emma Harfield, Fionna Tan, Fraser Morrison, Gabriella Shaw, George Lloyd, Hannah Tomsett, Manjuli Ramani, Neil Mandell, Olivia Ourabi, Cecelia Carnell, Eilidh Cowan, Razwana Quadir

Alpha 9: Gravity Water Feed and House Build in Kampung Banbagan
PMs Alice, Andrew and Emma

Ashley Winter, Daryl Goh, Declan Cook, Flora McCall, Janice Wei ying Lye, Emily Fisher, Katie Batchelor, Krysrell Chiu, Matthew White, Nathalie Phillips, Rebecca Allen, Xia Shuen Quek

Alpha 10: Rainforest Survey and Gazebo Build
PMs Nicolo and Jason

Bernard Eng Khim Sheng, Carl Rietschel, Eleanor  Hansford, Gwen Morris, Isobel Pratt, Jaillin Bates, Laura Livingston, Tabitha Kaye, Taleesha Gheewala, Tom Grant, Cameron Rogers, Kate Fleetwood, Chloe McFarlane.

The Alpha's all had an early start with their buses deploying at 6am on Saturday morning. However, everyone was up, had breakfast and were ready to go by 5.30am. All groups have safely arrived at their project sites, are setting up camp and getting ready to start work.

I will round up as much information as possible over the radio so tune in soon so see how everyone is getting on!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

We're at the Half Way Point!

It seems like just yesterday that the V's arrived at KK airport; jet lagged, sweaty and a little bewildered, but it was four weeks ago!

Half way through and they are all fully immersed in Raleigh life, have acclimatised to the heat(most of the time anyway) and have gone full throttle into all of the projects.

Alpha 1's kindergarten in Komborongo is on track with the floor finished, the walls going up and the roof going on. The Gravity Water Feed is ready for the water tank to be moved into place and the dam build is in full swing with Alpha 2. Alpha 3 are moving steadily along with the water tanks in Danum Valley and Alpha 4 have completed the first bear refuge and have started designing the second.

The trekkers are enjoying practicing their camp craft skills, leeches, Dive Island, Raleigh Rations and some sunshine which has decided to come back for Phase 2.

So here we are, Expedition 12D at our first Changeover...

Here's to a fabulous Phase 2 and an even better Phase 3!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Expedition 12I Induction Week

It's Training Time for the 5 Week V's!

After a good night’s rest in their bashas (hammocks with tarps covering them) the V’s were up early on Wednesday morning for breakfast at 7am. After a good serving of porridge and an energiser game called Evolution (a fun game to get everyone woken up) it was time to get ready for the V’s first trek into the Bornean jungle!

The morning was spent learning how to use a trangia (a compact cooker), how to put a basha and use a parang and finally getting all of the group kit packed.

The two hour trek into the jungle began mid-morning with Delta 8 going first followed by Delta’s 9 and 10 in twenty minute intervals. Epic sweating was experienced for the first time with most of the V’s along with meeting a variety of bugs including ants and mosquitos. Unfortunately for the groups, the heavens opened just before the first team reached Jungle Camp which made for a rather slippery trek. However, everyone managed to get their camps set up and a nice warm dinner cooked.

The group made it through the night, some with more sleep than others; the noise of the jungle is often hard to get used to as it is incredibly loud. There is one particular beetle that sounds exactly like a high-pitched car alarm, usually heard as it gets dark and into the night proving a sound sleep more difficult for the light sleepers. Luckily no hammocks snapped in the night and it was up at 5am to pack up camp and depart back to Basecamp.

Another jam-packed day was had with training sessions starting as soon as everyone arrived back from Jungle Camp and in the afternoon it was time for Raleigh Olympics. Raleigh Olympics features regularly at Basecamp; it is a sports day as such with team races and relays. The teams had to pass water carefully to one another, with a few distractions from their PMs, spin round in circles before racing back to their teams and participate in the ultimate Raleigh game; the Bravo Push!

 Delta 8 were the ultimate winners, even with a few points deducted for incorrect footwear during the first race and so won a tub of ice cream after dinner.

The Delta groups will be divided into Alpha groups on Friday; new teams ready to go out on their project site. Check back soon to see who is going to be allocated where!

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Dr Challoners School Expedition

The Venturers for a bespoke expedition, Dr Challoners School safely arrived in Sabah on Monday 23rd July. They were greeted at the airport by their Project Managers and some of the Fieldbase team. As soon as all bags had been collected they were whisked away to Basecamp, a forty five minute bus journey away.

Training began straight away with name games and group activities.

Everyone was shown how to set up their mosquito nets in their bashas, and how to three bowl (cleaning system that stops the spread of bacteria and infection). After an expedition meeting and dinner the Venturers where nearly falling asleep at their tables so it was an early bed time for most.

Training continued the following day with team bonding, medical sessions, learning how to assess and cross rivers safely, setting up and using HF radios and campcraft.

The day finished with a lovely dip in the river to cool off!

The V’s also got to compete in the all famous Raleigh Olympics! A series of races and relays to get the teams working together and ultimately having lots of fun!

The group will be divided into three and will spend the next week in different locations in the Pitas district where they will be  building toilet blocks in remote communities. The Pitas district is considered the poorest in Sabah and Sabah is the poorest State in Malaysia.

Raleigh has worked with all three communities previously, installing gravity water feed systems to provide safe access to running water however poor sanitation is still a major issue which has serious repercussions for both adults and children regarding health and education.

The provision of toilets in the centre of the villages have been identified as priority by the communities themselves combined with needs assessment and close collaboration with Project Partners Asian Forestry Company (AFC).
Allocations for the projects are as follows:

Charlie 1: Kampung Nibang
Christine Holloway
Anishka Anand, Ellie Crompton, Hannah Barnetson, Helena Griffiths, Julia Bridden, Kate Hollingsworth, Keira Hassim, Nickita Babber, Rebecca Miller, Rosaline Lord, Sophie Rhodes, Sophie Yeoman, Zareen Patel
Charlie 2: Kampung Vunui Locos
Paul Holloway
Amelia Cole, Belinda Wind, Eleanor Thomson, Emma Ford, Evie Butcher, Hannah Clappen, Imogen Beschi, Kate Patel, Katie Moore, Meekita Gupta, Nina Biddle, Rosana Sasson, Victoria Cherkas

Charlie 3: Kampung Maliau Luyang
Melanie Wright, Nick Vince
Chloe Armstrong, Eleanor Fisher, Eve Laycock, Gemma Valance, Hannah Graham, Hannah Warren, Jessica Crabbe,  Katherine Chen, Megan McCarthy, Nava Yarahmadi, Rebecca Dearing, Sab Tiwana
So after four jam-packed days of training and fun the Challoner’s Venturers have all safely deployed and arrived at their project sites, eager to get started.