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The stories that make us smile

Every week, our vet and bear teams from both China and Vietnam send over reports of all the goings-on on site. Bears that are skittish in the spring, and enjoying the warm summer days, then eating more or sliding into winter dormancy and snoozing for days or even weeks in their dens.

Or the ones that don’t mind the cold at all and keep wide awake, playing happily with their friends. Our teams constantly check and monitor their behaviour, their likes and dislikes, their ups and downs, as a pattern emerges over the months and years, which will help in the ongoing management of these very individual bears.

Some of the comments never fail to make me smile – and it often seems as though our teams are talking about little people out there in the enclosures, as they go about their business of fun and mischief. And of course none of us care about being labelled anthropomorphic when it’s clear that the bears’ warm and unique characters and emotions must be understood as much as we can, so that management can always be improved.

Here for your reading pleasure are some examples of the antics over the past few months that have delighted us all and make reading reports such a pleasure!

Tam Dao, Vietnam:

First a compilation over the weeks of interactions between gorgeous sun bears David and Lamma in an ongoing saga we’ve now termed “The Waltons”.

V020 David and V023 Lamma have settled into their new routine very well. Appetites are great, and activity levels are high. David still can’t figure out how Lamma gets up those trees, but he does enjoy the pool from time to time.

The Sunbears decided to do a little digging today. Well V023 Lamma did. V020 David sat and watched. ( He’s a bit Rupert like?? Not that there’s anything wrong with that!! )*

V020 David and V023 Lamma - Both are doing very well. Great appetites, and very playful. They hold the VBRC (Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre) record for the couple that can destroy an enrichment toy the fastest.

So good seeing David gently playing with Lamma - his whole mouth around her head which, judging by the smile on her face, she was thoroughly enjoying! 


The hooligans V024 Maggie (pictured here, top) and V026 Taurus (pictured second) and V025 Angus and love the enclosure and won’t be happy until they’ve wrecked every tree and bush in there. 

9 Sept. V005 Mama and V006 Moggy were given enclosure access out of House 2. Very exciting … they have never been outside before. It was a slight let down, as they both spent the day in bed so didn’t even realise they had access to the grass and sunshine outside! 

10 Sept. Mama (pictured) poked her nose outside a couple of times, but didn’t venture any further. Moggy stayed in bed again! 

Chengdu, China: 


A few cabbages have been left in the enclosure and noodles ‘are not welcome’ here.

Sun: S014 Frodo (pictured below) lying on the giant truck tyre “Banjo style” for about 20 minutes, Eric suggested she was “searching for the ring”.

Emma ate all his dog biscuits at pm feed and took 1 cabbage to bed with him.

S067 Pinetree has been busy pursuing S200 Peanut this week. A similar thing happened last year. There has also been some mating. The team report that S067 Pinetree kept a very watchful eye on S200 Peanut when he tried to solicit the attentions of S012 Heather! (Note - Pinetree is a middle aged female bear and Heather is an elderly female - Peanut is 4!) 

On Thursday S165 Clancy Jack and S063 Pooh had a minor scuffle in the enclosure, lots of growling and swiping. Jasper mooched over from the other side of enclosure and spilt them up by initiating play with S165 Clancy Jack.

S128 NIC & S082 Jurgen were seen having a great time wrestling on Sunday afternoon, it was so cute to see the two old duffers playing like kids.
 

S192 Ki has been mating with her uncles Douglas and Sunshine, it’s all wrong! 


Unable to assess Back this week as he was too busy to come forward :-)

Several males have been trying to mate with S050 Luna. All have been rejected including S048 Jasper, S039 Frank and S035 Aussie (some big names).

S118 Teddy got a shock by the perimeter e fence whilst chatting to a bear on the house 1 side.


But the prize has to go to translator Eric (who sadly has just left us) and the most beautiful descriptions in the course of his work. One of my favourites was his description of the bears’ attempts to prise insects out from the soil, announcing that they were “digging for underground citizens”.

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