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The Samboja Lestari Rehabilitation Centre has a special sun bear sanctuary, which currently houses 73 sun bears in a complex that replicates their natural habitat and allows them to participate in a variety of activities. This sun bear sanctuary is divided into multiple areas, which includes Complexes A – P, Top Yard, Middle Yard, Bottom Yard, and a training complex.

In these sections, our technicians often use a feeding technique known as ‘scatter feeding’ for the sun bears. Scatter feeding is the random and broad distribution of food around the sanctuary complex: Food may be hidden behind logs, buried in bushes, and placed in lofty areas such as on tree branches or on play structures inside the sanctuary complex.

(Photo Credit: BOSF)

Scatter feeding also serves as a type of environmental enrichment, to improve the cognitive capacity of sun bears by offering stimulation. Furthermore, the sanctuary’s design, which resembles a natural forest, serves to stimulate sun bear foraging instincts and natural abilities like climbing trees and digging – activities that imitate their normal hunting behaviours. This keeps the sun bears engaged and prevents them from eating too quickly, reducing restlessness.

(Photo Credit: BOSF)

Scatter feeding is set twice daily – at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Our technicians also provide snacks,  around 11 a.m., in between these morning and evening meals. The amount delivered during scatter feeding is controlled to avoid providing more than the average sun bears’ total daily food consumption. Each sun bear consumes around 5.6 kg of fruit and 200 g of dry dog food on a daily basis. Individual snacks often consist of a combination of 40 g of baby porridge, 50 ml of honey, and 150 g of other light meals that are often combined with training sessions.

Text by: Communication Team at Samboja Lestari, East Kalimantan

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