Mosquitos swarm as they slash thick tangled vines with worn-out machetes. 12 hours of relentless trekking and the jungle canopy has finally swallowed the last of daylight. It’s day seven of this ‘Search and Recover’ operation, but she is still out there. At 4:00 am tomorrow they will begin again. The day before, they caught a glimpse of her shiny black coat before she vanished into the dense undergrowth.
Natalie, one of the smallest bears on Earth, outsmarts that crew of rangers and veterinarians for 37 days, before she returns to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre on her own accord.
Relieved that she has returned home from her pre-mature forest adventure, Malaysian biologist, Dr. Wong Siew Te, smirks as he recalls how fast she mastered climbing as a cub. Five years earlier, baby Natalie was carried into his centre as an emaciated orphan, rescued from the very people who shot her mother dead to sell for body parts.
In Sabah, Borneo, amongst the oldest rainforests on Earth is the Centre where Natalie has since recovered and is eventually prepared to take her first steps into the wild as a free bear. She is the first sun bear to be released by the centre!
As we follow Natalie through the excitement of her life at the Centre and beyond, we take a deeper look at forest ecology and discover the vital roles sun bears play in their ecosystem as forest doctors, engineers and farmers. This leads us to realize that these rainforests need sun bears, just as we need the rainforests; and what threatens sun bears also threatens us.
As we examine our own life choices in regard to consumerism and career paths, we discover we all have a role to play in reducing these threats and keeping sun bears alive, wild and free.
This is the synopsis of the documentary film in-progress Survival of the Sun Bears
We’ve already captured hundreds of hours of amazing sun bear footage to share Natalie’s story with the world. Help us complete this film and educate the world about what we can ALL do to help sun bears survive!