Conservation and life in Borneo

All Hands on Deck

It’s been a little more ‘hands on’ in the bear house the last few days now that our Travellers volunteers have finished. I helped out with husbandry this morning with some cage cleaning, food preparation and enrichment.

For the enrichment today I made some next balls. These are intended to simulate a birds next, with a few added extras to help motivate the bears. This is a kind of puzzle feeder; sun bears in the wild spend a lot of time problem solving, looking for food. The nest ball is made to be thrown up on top of the pen, so that the bear has to climb up, retrieve it and dismantle it in order to get to the reward, in this case, a boiled egg wrapped in honey-drizzled ginger leaves.

All natural ingredients.

The nest balls are bulked up with herbaceous vegetation before being tied-off with adventitious roots. The final result is a stimulating puzzle with a reward at the end…. just like a real meal in the forest.

The ones I made today took 3 to 9 minuts for the bears to eat their eggs, depending upon the size of the “nest”. I also showed Gloria how to make them and in fact she made some really good ones; it’s nice to think that they will be made after I’m gone.


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