Tim Mellonie has worked at Monarto Zoo for three years and is intrusted with the care of some of the zoo's most unique creatures. His story is just one example of the dedication our employees have to greater conservation efforts both in Australia and internationally as well as the passion needed to pursue such ventures.
In early February 2013 Tim was offered a position with the Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) as a 'Sun Bear Intern' and given the opportunity to work on a sun bear rehabilitation project in Central Kalimantan, Borneo. The OFI is a not for profit organisation founded by Dr Birute Galdikas, a well-known anthropologist with whom Jane Goodall and Diane Fossey studied great apes with in the sixties and seventies.
After taking a boat late at night, Tim arrived at the campsite amid thick vegetation – Tim's home for the next five months. The camp was very basic; filled with mosquitos and only generated enough electricity (solar) to charge a mobile phone for an hour each night!
Tim's work focussed around the reintroduction and rehabilitation of a young bear cub, Bernie, into the wild jungles of Central Kalimantan. Tim describes his first interaction with Bernie as "going pretty smoothly, only a few flesh wounds across the top of my hands and along my forearms". Bernie was the smallest of all the bears Tim saw in Kalimantan but by far the most wild and according to Tim responded well to French accents!