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Just last week we told you how sun bears at the BOS Foundation’s Samboja Lestari Rehabilitation Centre in East Kalimantan are trained by our technicians to follow targets and recognise the hazards of electric fences.

Today, we wanted to share one last behaviour we are training our bears to display:

Transport Cage Use
This particular training is conducted by technicians, who encourage sun bears to enter transportation cages voluntarily. Transport cages are used to move sun bears from one enclosure to another or to different locations. Sun bears also need to be transported in cages when they must be moved to the clinic for a full medical examination. By training the sun bears to voluntarily enter transport cages, we can avoid the use of anaesthetics.

The stages for this training include:

This training is quite time-consuming, with the fastest a sun bear ever completing the process taking about a month with 10 training sessions.

All of the training we do with sun bears adheres to the principle of positive reinforcement: desired behaviour is reinforced through the use of rewards, and does not involve violence or punishment. When a sun bear successfully passes each training stage, they are rewarded with fruit, honey, or other favourite foods.

These training activities are by no means intended to serve as a form of entertainment or for human interests. All are designed with the goal of bettering animal welfare and based upon best-practice management.

We currently care for 72 sun bears at the Sun Bear Sanctuary at Samboja Lestari, East Kalimantan. We hope that the training we provide for the sun bears in our care helps them live happy and peaceful lives.

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