Did you know that the Samboja Lestari Rehabilitation Centre has a special sun bear sanctuary? It currently houses 73 of the world’s smallest bears in a complex that replicates their natural habitat and allows them to participate in various activities.
The sun bear sanctuary is divided into multiple areas, which include 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’. 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.
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, stimulates the sun bears’ foraging instincts and natural abilities like climbing trees and digging – activities that imitate their normal hunting behaviours. This environment keeps the sun bears engaged and prevents them from eating too quickly, reducing restlessness.
Scatter feeding is set twice daily – at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. In addition, our technicians provide snacks around 11 a.m., in between these morning and evening meals. The caretakers control the amount delivered during scatter feeding. That way, they avoid providing more than the average sun bear’s daily food consumption. Each sun bear consumes around 5.6 kilograms of fruit and 200 grams of dry dog food each day. Individual snacks often consist of 40 grams of baby porridge, 50 millilitres of honey and 150 grams of other light meals. These are often combined with training sessions.