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Gaby's Kalimantan refuge

On Sunday last week, Vet Heather, Vet Nurse Wen, and I visited Indonesia for a few days to work with the lovely Gabriella Fredriksson (or Gaby as everyone knows her) in East Kalimantan.

Some of her sun bears needed quite radical dental work and of course we all jumped at the chance to spend some quality time with this amazing species and to catch up on the incredible work Gaby and her team do for sun bear welfare and conservation in the field.

Gaby is Co-Chair of the Sun Bear Expert Team of the IBA/BSG/IUCN and what she doesn't know about sun bears really isn't worth knowing. She'd blush at that of course, but her knowledge and integrity in helping this much maligned species is one of the key approaches in ultimately saving them from extinction in Indonesia.

Gaby's group has five rescued adult sun bears and beautiful forest enclosures in which to show them off. Just this week a poor little sun bear cub was delivered to their door in a cooler box no less, and Gaby is now exploring the possibility of "slow releasing" her back into an appropriate area of the forest.

Their Educational facility is superb - and with 700 visitors apparently there just the weekend we arrived, is obviously a popular focal point for the local community. Walking around admiring their creative exhibits, Heather, Wen and I almost popped with pride when we saw a large picture of Jasper looking out at us from the moon bear scene.

Gaby, her manager Alexandra and the staff they employ also adore cats - in fact 108 of them are living on site and they are quite the most relaxed and contented group of felines I have ever seen.

Teaching the community how to respect and care for cats - and dogs - is also one of Gaby's passions as it not only shows respect for life, but helps to protect the fragile ecosystem and forest in which they all live.

Gaby's project and work is phenomenal - please visit her website to see how you can help the sun bears, cats, dogs and ecosystem of East Kalimantan. www.beruangmadu.org

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