Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Malaysia Asia

 

 

A dream come true for one man, the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre has been finally opened to the public in early 2014 when Wong Siew Te, the man behind this project and also the founder – finally got around to making this a reality. I personally met Wong back in 2010, when I was involved in a filming project on behalf of Tourism Malaysia where we came here to film these cute and cuddly sun bears, the worlds smallest bears too – which is a highly protected species here in Sabah and around Borneo.

At that time, the sun bear conservation was just a small structure that housed the bears and another one for the office where the center initially started in 2008.  I remember Wong had already fenced up an entire area for these bears to be rehabilitated and after discussion, we agreed to build a viewing platform for us to film tourist observing the sun bears.

 

The main entrance to the centre

One of the Sun Bears

Then one fine day in October 2014, I stroll in again to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre unannounced and to receive a shock of my life as Wong had finally made this dream come true – A proper conservation project that allows visitors to observe the sun bars in their natural habitat and the best part, a fantastic viewing and observation deck!

Bet you didn’t know how long a sun bear’s tongue was

 

Was I impressed? Yes, overly as the place was done to international standards. And a bonus, Wong was there conducting an interview with someone. When he finished, I approached Wong and reminded him of our project back then when he showed me the actual original platform that we built – it was still there! and he mentioned that they have been maintaining that platform for their own personal research and use. Hearing that put a huge smile on my face.

The story on why Wong set up this place and why he was so passionate about it is stated in this statement he once mentioned “In 2004, I received a grant to do a survey of captive sun bears in the country and I found most to be kept in a deplorable manner, with no proper monitoring and care. After seeing bears in such a bad state, I cannot turn a blind eye to them. I simply cannot. I saw a need to do for sun bears what the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre in Sandakan was doing – housing rescued orang utans in a proper manner and rehabilitating them for future release back to the wild.”

The original sun bear viewing deck which we built in 2010.

 

Anyway, let me just share with you what this place is all about in this article. For starters, Sun Bears from Borneo are brought and put here for rehabilitation purposes due to injury, poaching, kept as pets or those cubs losing the mothers. This is also the only conservation in Sabah which is specialized in these bears.

When you reach the main entrance, you will need to walk in about 600 meters to the main centre where tickets are sold at the main conservation building. From there, you need to walk in and head up a long flight of stairs to the main sun bear viewing deck. Note there is a lot of walking involved here so please don’t come in your high heels or platforms.

Wong Siew Te and me

The main viewing deck for the sun bears

For nature and wildlife lovers, this is hands down the best place to watch and observe the sun bears in their almost-natural habitat. Photography is allowed in here too. Just keep that volume down, that is required by the operators here. And don’t call the sun bears with all kinds of whistles and sounds as you will be told not to do it.

Here are some additional photos of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre which I took in October 2014 during my brief visit here.

The main entrance to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

The map of the area here

The main walkway to the centre

The main building where the entrance, video room and shop is located

The video room where information is shared

The entrance fees

For more information, you can visit the official website of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. Otherwise, when you book your Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre visit, you can enquire about visiting this place too. Overall, you can spend a minimum of one hour here for those on a schedule.

The best time to visit this place is when the sun bears are most active, which is around 9.30am till 3.00pm. In total, you will be spending at least 3-4 hours here at both center’s if you are visiting them.

General Information

Opening Hours
*9:00 am to 3:30 pm.
*Open every day of the year, including holidays.
*FREE admission for children below 12 years old and senior citizens Malaysian above 55 years old.
*Tickets are valid for 1 day only.

Phone: +6089-534491
Email: info.bsbcc@gmail.com

How to go to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Taking a Taxi
Take a taxi from town to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre. Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) is just next to the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre.

Taking a Bus
In Sandakan town, look for the bus marked ‘Sepilok Batu 14’ from the local bus stand next to the Milimewa Supermarket which cost RM2.50 and a journey of 45 minutes. There are also local minivans also make the trip every hour, check with the bus stand.

Regular buses, also marked ‘Batu 14’ or higher, can drop you at the turn-off to Jln Sepilok, 2.5km from the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. You need to walk in from there.

Bus Schedule
From Town to Sepilok:
09.00 am & 11.30 am
02.00 pm & 05.00 pm

From Sepilok to Town:
06.30 am & 10.30 am
12.30 pm & 04.00 pm
Bus Contact Number: 012-8067067 / 017-8632684

Currently, there are 35 sun Bears at the center and the number is growing over the months. There are plans to build a new bear enclosure which is currently in the works too. Again, this article highlights the conservation efforts of the local people here which is not easy, even in this day of time. Donations are accepted as part of the money donated goes directly to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre too.

 

 

My Confession about the Confession Bear

Text by Hng Lee Ying

If you always surf the internet, you must have seen this confession bear somewhere before, either be it on the Facebook or 9gag. I did not realize I was going to meet the famous confession bear until my college friend told me that confession bear is our Malayan Sun Bear! Although I was born and raised in Penang, Malaysia, I know nothing about the sun bear prior to the volunteering. To fill in the knowledge gap, I came to BSBCC.

Internet name: Confession Bear

 

For the 17 days I spent volunteering in the BSBCC, there was not a day I did not wake up eagerly and look forward to work. It was the combinations of the people, working environment and the nature that make it ‘pops’ for me.

Local people, especially the staff members are friendly and genuine. I am blessed to have the opportunity to work with a team of 19 who had taught me many things unsparingly. They shared with me their experiences, conservation works and life stories. Occasionally, or almost every day, they would tell me ‘interesting’ local tales that had kept me awake for a few nights (thank you). The most amazing part is that every staff’s eyes sparkle when they talk about the sun bears, forest, nature conservation and things they hope to see happening in the future.

Photo by Tee Thye Lim

Mr. Wong Siew Te – The CEO & Founder of BSBCC

Most people thought the working environment in the conservation field is much slower and less stressful compared to the corporate companies’. Maybe it is somewhat true, but conservation work is no less challenging and tough. With a team of 19, there are 35 sun bears to be taken care of and monitored, hundreds of visitor flow to be managed every day, not to mention those are just the tip of the iceberg! As a volunteer, I worked mostly in the animal husbandry and education work which both I enjoyed very much.

Photo by Chiew Lin May

Everything in the nature is simply intriguing. The perks of working in BSBCC is that other than the sun bears, I got to meet some of the nature habitants too. For instances, the ‘up high’ rhinoceros hornbill, red leaf monkey, black giant squirrel, flying squirrel, the ‘neighbors’ orang utan, the ‘tenants’ bornean pygmy elephants, the ‘marbly’ pill millipede, sneaky leeches etc. O ya, and the annoying macaques too (you will understand once you volunteer).

Thank you BSBCC for the valuable experiences. It is my pleasure to have the opportunity to get to know each of you and be part of the team. Lots of love for you all!

Photo by Tee Thye Lim

Integration Chin with the Adult Female Bear Group

Text and Photos by Chiew Lin May

Chin was rescued from the Tawau district where she was kept at the primary school’s mini zoo. On October 20th, 2014, we relocated Chin to our BSBCC bear house to join a gorgeous group of bears. We started to introduce Chin to other female adult bears so that they can live together. Integrating sun bears is a helpful process through which the bears can develop and learn pertinent skills for survival in the wild.  We hoped the integration would go well.

Chin was introduced to the adult female bears which included Susie, Kuamut, Tokob, Cerah, Jelita and Lawa. Because it would be too overwhelming for Chin to meet all six sun bears at the same time, one by one introduction was started for the first seven days. Through the expressions of Chin’s behaviour, she could not wait to play with other female bears. Five of the female bears were very pleased to have a new playmate, inquisitively sniffing and offering a friendly paw to Chin. Chin is very playful bear! A few months on, they continue to enjoy and learn to understand each other better, and no aggression was noted. They would play chase, climb around and share enrichment with each other. Their friendships blossomed.

Here are couples of photos shows the integration Chin with the other female adult group.

 

Integration Chin with Cerah

Bears being Bears

Chin (back) was so excited and she like to displayed a “dancing move” to her friends.

Cerah showed dominance over Chin !!

 

Integration Chin with Jelita

Jelita (front) tried to show Chin (back) that she has the strength too !!

After tired of play, finally Chin can lying down on ground floor to rest.

 

Integration Chin with Lawa

Lawa (back) started to accept Chin’s (front) presence. Both of them play happily !

Chin (right) sniffed on Lawa (Left) and was very curious.

 

Integration Chin with Susie

 

First met with Susie!

All of the strong claws and canines were showed up during the play fight.

Always cheerful Chin!

 

Integration Chin with Kuamut

 

Say “Hi” to Kuamut!

Tired from play fight, both had a rest and were gasping for breath.

Taking rest first! They spends the day with chasing, rolling and play fight together without aggression behavior.

 

However, Tokob did not welcome the newcomer. Tokob’s reaction toward Chin was very strong, growling and barking on a defensive way. Tokob has a very strong sense of curiosity, but maintains her distance around Chin. Tokob is very alert, and demonstrates a bit more dominance than Chin so we will have to be patient while this integration unfolds. We will continue to monitor these two bears until we are certain that they are good playmates and we will keep you updated on their progress!

 

Integration Chin with Tokob

Chin was climb upside down and aware when Tokob did not show interest on her.

 

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC)

New Sabah Times, 5th December 2014 

Text : David de la Harpe
Photo: BSBCC

http://www.newsabahtimes.com.my/nstweb/fullstory/82859

BSBCC Participates in GEF SGP Workshop & Seminar

Photo & text by Gloria Ganang

It was a great honor for me and my colleague Risnayati to be part of the workshop & seminar organized by GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP)Malaysia held at the Crystal Crown Hotel, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. The National GEF-SGP Grantees Workshop was held on the 20th November 2014 where approximately 30 projects funded by GEF-SGP gathered and shared about their projects, the challenges they face and how the GEF SGP has helped projects to happen through provision of funding.

BSBCC received funding from GEF SGP in 2013. This has helped us in developing our Centre as an education Centre for sun bears and their habitat. With SGP funding, signboards were able to be installed along our trails and observation platform to provide information to visitors about the least known bear. The grant also gave us the opportunity to go out to the local schools and promote awareness and education to the younger generations about sun bears.

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The day started with the grantees setting up their booths in the activity hall. Photo: Risnayati standing beside BSBCC booth

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Hyrul from Friends of North Selangor Peat Swamp Forest Association putting up their display materials

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Setting up booth: Persatuan Kebajikan Nelayan-Nelayan Pantai Pulau Pinang

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Handmade crafts displayed by Community-Led Environmental Awareness For Our River

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Home made compost samples prepared by Consumers’ Association of Penang

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BC Initiative booth visited by other grantee members

Every session of the workshop started with an ice breaking activity to encourage grantees from different projects to know each other and each other’s project. Everyone gets into groups that comprises of different people from different projects.

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David Lee, GEF SGP National Coordinator was the host during the workshop.

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Group discussion about challenges faced by grantees

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Group presentation and sharing of opinions

I would say that the workshop was very informative, interactive and productive. It definitely achieved its objectives of intra-networking establishment among grantees and creating opportunities for collaboration between projects from all over Malaysia. I am totally impressed with the diversity of projects that GEF SGP Malaysia is funding.

I’m sure we all benefited each other by participating in the workshop. We’ve got everyone’s name card by the way to keep in touch! Well done David Lee and Lai Sook Mei for organizing the workshop! It was really a successful one!

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The workshop ended with..what else? Group photo!

THE NEXT DAY…

Here comes the slightly more formal event, the Seminar!

Once again, the grantees set up their booth in the hall first thing in the morning followed by a mingling session before the seminar started. The guess of honor was Datuk Dr. Abdul Rahim Nik, Deputy Secretary General, Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment.

Datuk Dr. Abdul Rahim Nik delivering his opening remarks during the seminar

Datuk Dr. Abdul Rahim Nik during his opening remarks at the seminar

Presentation of mock cheques to new grantees:  Pertubuhan Alam Sekitar Ecoknight

This was followed by presentation of mock cheque to new grantees. Photo: Mock cheque presentation to Pertubuhan Alam Sekitar Ecoknights

Presentation of mock cheque to new grantees: Sabah Women Entreprenures & Professionals Association

Mock cheque presentation to Sabah Women Entrepreneurs & Professionals Association

The line of new grantees of GEF SGP

The line of new GEF SGP grantees

The seminar continued with sharing of testimonies from SGP grantees.

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A representative from TONIBUNG shared about the tremendous works they do to supply power in remote villages of Sabah through microhydro. Thanks to GEF SGP for providing the funds and making this all possible!

A representative from Persatuan Pengguna Pulau Pinang sharing on healthy methods & practices on organic farming.

A representative from Consumers’ Association of Penang sharing on healthy methods & practices of organic farming

It was my turn finally to share about BSBCC's achievement so far through partnerships and helps from many indivuals & organizations.

It was my turn finally to share about BSBCC’s achievement so far through partnerships and helps from many individuals & organizations

 

Q & A session with the presenters

Q & A session with the presenters

After the breathtaking session learning about the inspiring works of different projects in Malaysia, the finale of the seminar was a panel discussion on opportunities for partnership.

The panelists

The panelists during the seminar

Once again we would like to thank GEF SGP for your support towards BSBCC and for hosting these meaningful and worthwhile events. Congratulations David & Sook Mei for making this a success!

Find out more about GEF Small Grants Programme at www.sgpmalaysia.org

6th East & Southeast Asian Wild Animal Rescue Network Conference 2014

On the 24th – 27th November 2014, the 6th Wild Animal Rescue Network (WARN) Conference was held at the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden (KFBG), Hong Kong SAR, China.

 

The theme for this year’s conference was:

“Challenges Faced during Long Term Maintenance of Rescued Wildlife”.

 

This is an appropriate title as it reflects a reality that many centres face; the need to hold animals for longer periods than planned or originally intended. Long term holding creates many constraints and challenges, so the topic is ideal for the sharing of respective experiences, to help tackle some of these issues a little better, and allows those affected to be comforted by the knowledge that we are not alone in facing these challenges.

Key objectives for the four days conference are:

  • To provide a forum to facilitate sharing between respective organisations working in the field of wildlife rescue.
  • To share experiences and challenges related to the 2014 Conference theme.
  • To urge more members to formally join the WARN network, and to provide further information related to membership categories and benefits of membership.
  • To provide inputs to the revision of international guidelines for placement of rescued wildlife.
  • To determine who will host the 2015 and 2016 WARN Conferences.

 

 

80 participants from 18 countries attended this year’s conference. Mr. Andy Brown, Executive Director, Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden gave the opening speech to welcome participants to the 6th Wild Animal Rescue Network (WARN) Conference on November 24th, 2014.



This was followed by a keynote speech address titled “Seizure and Sanctuary: Engaging Ethics in the Global Context of Wildlife Rescue” prepared by Dr.Sal Renshaw,
Associate Professor, Chair of Department from Nipissing University, Canada.


A total of 25 oral presentations were provided by 23 wildlife organization.

Annemarie Weegenaar, Bear & Vet Team Director Vietnam of Animals Asia Foundation represent with a presentation titled as: ” Challenges in Housing Rescued Bears from Bear Bile Farms Long Term in Animals Asia’s Sanctuary”

Elke Schwierz, Head Animal Keeper of Endangered Primate Rescue Centre, Vietnam represent with a presentation titled as: ” Experiences on Hand Rearing of Leaf Eating Monkeys, Gibbons and Lorises”.

Laura Benedict, represent Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Malaysia with a presentation titled as: ” Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre: Orangutan Rehabilitation in Sabah, 50-years (1964-2014) and On”.

Edwin Wiek, Founder and Director of Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand and Acting Secretary WARN represent with a presentation titled as: ” Cooperation of Wildlife Rescue Centers under WARN annual meeting Hong Kong, November 2014″.

Neil Maddison, Head of Conservation Programme Bristol Zoological Society represent with a presentation titled as: ” Updating the IUCN Guidelines for the Disposal of Confiscated Animals”.

Ricko Jaya, Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit Coordinator of Orangutan Information Centre, Medan , Indonesia represent with a presentation titled as: ” Addressing Human- Orangutan Confliction in Argricultural Landscapes around the Leuser Ecosystem, Northern Sumatra”.

Ho Ka Po (Right), Animal Keeper of Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Gardens, Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong SAR represent with a presentation titled as: ” Maintaining Fitness Level of Long-term Captive Rescued Raptors”.

Yonghyun Park, Rehabilitator of Chungnam Wild Animal Rescue Centre, Kongju National University, South Korea represent with a presentation titled as: ” Challenges of Rehabilitation and Long Term Captivity in Rescued Eagle Owls”.

Andy Lin (Right), Senior Animal Keeper of Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Gardens, Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong SAR represent with a presentation titled as: ” Exhibit Design and Landscaping for Long Term Captive Rescued Wildlife”.

Sun, Jing-Min, represent The Pingtung Rescue Centre for Endangered Wild Animals, Taiwan with a presentation titled as: ” Rehabilitation of Rescued Pangolins in PTRC”.

Dr. Alex Grioni, Veterinary Officer of Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden represent with a presentation titled as: ” Euthanasia in Wildlife Rehabilitation”.

Nguyen Phuong Dung, Vice Director of Education for Nature Vietnam, Vietnam represent with a presentation titled as: ” ENV’S Ending the Bear Farming and Trade Program in Vietnam”.

Ioana Dungler, represent Four PAWS International, Austria with a presentation titled as: ” Big Cats Calling”.

Hardi Baktiatoro, Principal of Centre for Orangutan Protection, Indonesia represent with a presentation titled as: ” 30+ recipes for Orangutans”.

Elizaberth Laksmi, Co-Founder Animal Indonesia, Indonesia represent with a presentation titled as: ” Combating Wildlife Poaching, Hunting and Trading in Indonesia”.

Raja Chatterjee, Secretary of THE JUNGLEES, India represent with a presentation titled as: ” Green Page: Tool for Corporate Support in Wildlife Conservation & Rescue Operation”.

Madhu Rao, Development Coordinator of IUCN-Species Survival Comission- Asian Species Action Partnership, Singapore represent with a presentation titled as: ” The Asian Species Action Partnership: The Role for Wildlife Rescue Centres and Conservation Breeding Facilities in Averting the Extinction of Critically Endangered non Marine Vertebrates in South East Asia”.

Tee Thye Lim, Centre Coordinator of Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre,Malaysia represent with a presentation titled as: ” The Challenges of Keeping Captive Sun Bears in a Natural Forest Enclosure: a case study of an escaped sun bear at Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre”.

Tee Thye Lim, Centre Coordinator of Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre,Malaysia represent with a presentation titled as: ” The Challenges of Keeping Captive Sun Bears in a Natural Forest Enclosure: a case study of an escaped sun bear at Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre”.

Q&A Session with our Wong Siew Te D.J.N, Founder & CEO of Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre .

DVM Dian Ramirez, Assistant Manager of Sabah Wildlife Rescue Unit,Sabah, Malaysia represent with a presentation titled as: ” Challenges Faced during Long Term Maintenance of Rescued Elephants”.

Anuradha Jayasinghe, Volunteer Coordinator & Technical Advisor of Free The Bears Foundation, Cambodia represent with a presentation titled as: ” Beyond the Bear Basics”.

Shu-Chuan Tseng, represent Pingtung Wildlife Rescue Centre for Endangered Wild Animal, Taiwan with a presentation titled as: ” Environmental & Behavioral Enrichement for Individual Orangutan”.

Dr.Kati Loeffler, represent International Fund for Animal Welfare, USA with a presentation titled as: ” The Forest and The Trees: Achieving objectives in long-term care of rescued wildlife”.

 

 

Beside this, open working group sessions were conducted, one of which discussed the revisions of: “Updating the IUCN Guidelines for the placement of rescued wildlife”. The remaining topics discussed during the working group sessions included; WARN Network, Best Practice Guidelines Animal Husbandry, Veterinary Care for Sanctuary, Rescue, Rehabilitation and Rescue, Bear Management, Pangolin Rescue, Capacity Building and Education.


Two field visits were organised, one of which was a visit to the Mai Po Marsh Nature Reserve, managed by the WWF Hong Kong. Mai Po Reserve is a diverse wetland spanning 2700 hectares managed by the World Wildlife Fund. It consists of several wetland habitats supporting an abundance of wildlife and migratory birds.

At the HKBWS Floating Hide.

We walked around the reserve and had great birding.

 

Pied Avocet. Photo by Wong Siew Te.

Black-faced Spoonbill.

Great Cormorant

 
During the night time, we took a visit to Kadoorie Farm Night Walk. There are 3 stations: Bat Ecology, Moth Trap and Native Nocturnal Mammals at the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden (KFBG). The place is a delight with a wonderful array of wildlife. Kadoorie represents the best of environmental and ecological awareness.

Moth Trap – by Roger

Bat Ecology – by Gary Ades

Native Nocturnal Mammals: Masked Palm Civet and Leopard Cats- by Debbie Ng


On November 27th, the working groups presented their suggestion and findings related in the conference objectives. These findings were followed by the Interim Board Reports, WARN Elections for Executive Committee. A mention to enlarge the Board from five to seven members was proposed and approved by the qualified WARN members.

The 6th WARN Conference was concluded by a closing address from Dr.Gary Ades (Head of Fauna Conservation Department of KFBG).

Million thanks to WARN Members and Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden for hosting this successful 6th WARN Conference. It was a great sharing experience through the presentation and practical workshop!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BSBCC Bakal Tambah Kemudahan

Utusan Borneo, 18th November 2014 
Text by Yusop Teppo

A day to remember

Text by Nick Tan (with reference to Buletin Mutiara)
Photos from Wong Siew Te

In conjunction with the Penang Governer’s recent birthday celebrations, some top civil servants were recognised for their contrbutions to the civil service. Among the list, there were Tan Sri Dr. Ali Bin Hamsa, Chief Secretary to the Government who received Darjah Utama Pangkuan Negeri (DUPN), CEO of Tah Wah Group Sdn Bhd, Dato’ Hong Yeam Wah, who received Darjah Yang Mulia Pangkuan Negeri (DMPN) and Datuk Ng Wee Kok who had served three Chief Ministers in his capacity as Senior Private Secretary and others.

Many were awarded for their contributions to the society and the environment. One of them was Mr. Wong Siew Te, CEO and founder of our centre. Congratulations Wong! Your  countless efforts have not been in vain.

Wong receiving the Darjah Johan Negeri (DJN) Award Order

Wong receiving the Darjah Johan Negeri (DJN) Award Order

This Order was instituted in 1969 and conferred on individuals who have contributed outstanding services in any field. This award is limited to one thousand one hundred and fifty living persons, excluding non-Malaysians who may be conferred this award on an honorary basis.

Wong inside the Dewan Istiadat (Royal Hall)

Wong inside the Dewan Istiadat (Royal Hall)

Enthusiastic Wong shared with Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng about sun bears and his conservation effort in saving them.

“In 1994, I went to University of Montana to seek a dream that was considered a ‘difficult task’ for many people from ordinary Asian families. The dream, which put me on the right track of my career, was to pursue a bachelor degree in Wildlife biology,” recalled Penangite Wong.

Wong having a picture taken with Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng

Wong having a picture taken with Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng

More news article (in Chinese) can be found here.

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Sin Chew Daily (????),  26th September 2014

Sandakan Adventure start with BSBCC

Text by Wong Wai Ying

Welcome to Sandakan!!!

This is the first time for me to travel alone, step into Borneo for volunteer work in BSBCC. There are a lot of people curious about what is sun bear, what you going to do with these bear? Well, here is the reason for me to experience it and introduce these cute bear to everyone.


Back to nature always is my wish.

<span “font-size:11.0pt;line-height:=”” 115%;font-family:”calibri”,”sans-serif”;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;=”” mso-fareast-font-family:simsun;mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;mso-hansi-theme-font:=”” minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:”times=”” roman”;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;=”” mso-ansi-language:en-us;mso-fareast-language:zh-cn;mso-bidi-language:ar-sa”=””>On 11 October 2014, a warm welcoming from my friends Thye Lim and Lin May who I didn’t meet up for last 3 years. They gave me a brief intro of BSBCC and we start up the day by preparing sun bear’s food for the whole days. Although sun bear is the smallest size in bear species, however they have a good appetite. We need to prepare porridge, fruits (Banana, Papaya, Langsat, and Salak), and vegetables (Sugar cane and sweet potato) with different portion for daily basis diet requirement of 35 bears. Coconut and honey drinks are their favourite foods.

Porridge with eggs

 

First eyes on sun bear, they are so special. Each of them has their own chest mark, behaviours and personalities. Why they are suckling, pasing, tapping and regurgitation all can be explained by experience staff. This is why BSBCC staffs, bear keepers and volunteer who stay long at centre be able to recognize the sun bear even from far distance. I’m no exception. Feeding time is the best way to get closer and recognize them. Until the last day of my duty, I’m able to recognize more than half of the sun bears’ name in the bear house.

Feeding time! Damai was suckling its own paw

David and Azzry (photographer) were the one scattered the fruit for sun bear with me.

BSBCC give the best effort in conserving sun bear. Most of the bear here were rescued from poacher where they kept in cage since young for display purpose, pets or even almost become a plate of dish. However, with the cares that provided by bear keeper, all the sun bear grow healthy and are trained to be survived in natural environment. Different designed of food enrichment (slot fruit inside the bamboo; put honey inside the Aussie Dog Ball) and cage enrichment trains the sun bear in food scratching and tree climbing. What amazes me is the way they peel off the coconut for drinking and taste on the fresh of coconut. Ronnie, one of the adult sun bear peel off the coconut just within 20 seconds. It really stunned me for a moment.

According to Azzry, making hammock is another way to train me becomes a strong women (=, =)!!!

In the bear house, we are not supposedly having a close distance with the sun bear as it might dangerous in an unknown condition. However, I’m so lucky that being able to witnessed Chin, a female sun bear moved from quarantine to bear house and joining with others in this big family. All the bear staff cooperate with each other, did a health check for Chin, before it really release and let it adapt to this new environment. For time being, Chin no longer feels aggressive with keeper and its new friends. She needs to pass through the test on electric fencing before release to outside world and interact with others sun bear.


During leisure time, I had the chance followed Mr. Wong and Fairo went to nearest waterfall to catch fish for aquarium project in the centre. Such a long time didn’t go for jungle trekking and this really makes me feel excited. Along the trails towards the destiny, we saw a lot of termites’ nests with different shape and a lot of stations to spot the Borneo bird species.

Termite’s nest

Sabah on the island of Borneo is well-known with the beauty of natural environment with relatively accessible wildlife animals. Others than sun bear, I had saw orang utan in Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre walk around, how the long-tail macaque grab the food from sun bear, chased by 9 months old pygmy elephant, saw a red giant flying squirrel gliding from one tree to another tree at Rainforest Discovery Centre, orchid praying mantis that caught by Nick, and a bundle of pill millipedes. During the Kinabatangan river cruise, more and more wildlife species can be found at here. In the late afternoon and early morning, we saw proboscis monkeys, basking monitor lizard, pig-tailed macaques, crocodile, mangrove snake, hornbills, and other birds’ species.

There are few Orang Utan free-roaming in the centre.

Found this grasshopper during banana leaves collection.

Long-tailed macaque

Ochid praying mantis

2 weeks passed and my volunteering work had come to the end. It’s hard for me to say goodbye. Staying at BSBCC really make me learn a lot. Working experience and knowledge that gained over here are can’t buy with money. Conservation work for animal is not an easy job and a lot of people do not understand how important it should be done for future generation. However, Wong and BSBCC team set up a fine example in sun bear conservation path to all of us. He is a father and also a life-guard for all sun bears. Therefore, no matter whom you are where you come from, if you have the wish to make a change for sun bear and your own, here is the place. All the hard work that you contribute is really paid off.

 

Thank you everyone!!!

I do appreciate everything from deep of my heart. Wish you guys all the best and keep moving on. Sun bear need you guys. So work with passion and dreams come not so far.

 

It’s my pleasure when took photo with the core person of Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC).

With my BUDDY at Kinabatangan River Cruise^^