In 2023, we welcomed two male sun bear cubs to our Samboja Lestari Sanctuary. Bakar and Coki have lived together ever since.

Bakar was rescued by the Wildlife Rescue Team of the East Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) and entrusted to Samboja Lestari on March 18, 2023, when he was just ten days old. He didn’t even have teeth yet. The report stated that a worker from a palm oil company in Rantau Pulung found him crying alone on a log without a mother. Bakar was cared for by locals for several days before being taken in by the BKSDA.

A local resident also handed over Coki to the BKSDA in Balikpapan. The little bear was only four months old when he arrived at Samboja Lestari on July 10, 2023.

Unique friendship
The two sun bear cubs adapted well in the forest and always played with each other despite their differences in character. Because Bakar was in human care longer, he was more dependent on humans and often behaved affectionately towards his caregivers. In contrast, Coki tended to be independent and less reliant on humans. He was very agile and enjoyed climbing trees. Usually, Bakar would follow Coki when they played together.

Each day, the bear cubs were brought into the forest

to be introduced to natural foods. For example, their caregivers would demonstrate how to find termites in decaying wood. They enjoyed spending time in the small rivers across the forest when the weather was scorching.

Bakar and Coki moved into their new, more spacious enclosure this year and have adjusted perfectly.

A new home
This year, they turned one year old and moved into an enclosure called Backyard B within the Sun Bear Sanctuary. This area is spacious enough for them to roam around; however, these young sun bears still need to learn not to touch the electric fences before the BOS team can move them into larger forested enclosures.

The pair has already fully adjusted to life in the sanctuary. Each day, our technicians begin by distributing food in the enclosure and checking that the electric fence is functioning correctly. Next, once all humans are safely outside the enclosure, the connecting door between the housing complex and the sanctuary is opened. Bakar and Coki will head straight to the food and begin their usual routine.

They climb up to the feeding platform, eating their main food first, then licking honey spread on the pillars and feeding on fruits. Due to their close and long relationship, they have never fought or even competed for food.

Keep on enjoying your time together, Bakar and Coki!

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There are lots of ways you can support orangutans and help ensure the survival of this precious ape.

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Orangutans are endangered and at risk of extinction. Habitat destruction results in hundreds of orphaned orangutans, who rely on our care every year. You can help by adopting one. Their dedicated ‘nannies’ teach them everything they need to know for when it’s time to release them back to the wild. You can follow their progress through Forest School.

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