These bears have been described as the "cutest" bears in the world and it's hardly surprising. Without fail, these bears capture the hearts of the volunteers at the rehabilitation centre. Unfortunately, due to their adorable nature, they have been cruelly captured to be sold as pets and held in cages. They have also been victim to hunting and have had much of their habitats destroyed. As a volunteer, you will get to work with the centre to help rescued bears on their journey back to the wild.

The centre opened in 2008 and it currently provides a home for more than 35 sun bears.

What will I do in Borneo?

As a volunteer, You will need to be comfortable in an outdoor environment and be willing to participate in a whole range of activities. Due to the unpredictability of working with nature, jobs may vary depending on the needs of the animals. Some of the main tasks that you will be involved include:

  • Enrichment:  As the sun bears have spent much of their lives in captivity, it is important to help to stimulate their wild instincts. Volunteers will get to take part in tasks such as hiding food to promote foraging behaviour. The main aim is to stimulate the bears' muscles and refelxes and to prepare them for the wild.
  • Monitoring and observation: Used to being fed in a cage, these bears are not able to fend for themselves. Volunteers help to monitor the health of the bears and observe how well they are transitioning back to a wild environment.
  • Construction: Volunteers could be involved in basic construction work to help maintain the bears’ dens or enclosures.
  • Husbandry: Volunteers will need to help to clean the enclosures and prepare food for the bears- a mucky task, but once the food is ready,  volunteers get to help feed the sun bears!
  • Education: It is important to ensure that the displays at the centre are up to date for visitors. Volunteers will help to prepare these displays and can get involved in talking to visiting school groups about the importance of conservation. A weekly blog is written by volunteers, and you will help to contribute to this too.

Where will I be based?

Based on the edge of the beautiful coastal town of Sandakan, you will live close to the rehabilitation centre in a traditional long house at the edge of the jungle. You can step out on the balcony and gaze at your fantastic view overlooking the lush, green surroundings. There are lots of lakes and country parks nearby to explore. The accommodation has plenty of facilities, western toilets and there are even hammocks to relax in!