WELCOME BACK WONG!
Wong Siew Te, BSBCC founder and CEO, reported for full-time duty at BSBCC on 14th February 2011, after fulfilling the requirements for his PhD at the University of Montana in the US. As well as overseeing forthcoming fundraising and building construction at BSBCC, Wong will begin plans for the reintroduction stage of the project, where bears will be put back in the wild, as well as carrying out additional studies on the bears currently at BSBCC and developing awareness and education activities.
FUNDING FOR PHASES 2 AND 3 CONSTRUCTION
In March 2011 BSBCC was informed by partner Sabah Wildlife Department that funding had been approved under the Malaysian Federal Government 10th Malaysia Plan for the Observation Platform and the trails leading to it, the Access Boardwalk from the main Sepilok car park to BSBCC and the upgrading of the access roads to the buildings. While this is great news, it means we still have to continue looking for funding for the other components, namely the visitor briefing area, the new bear holding area, environmental education hardware, and the all-important second new bear house.
At present, technical drawings are being finalized for all the components of Phase 2 and 3 and the next step will be calling for tenders for those components with approved funding.
MORE NEW ARRIVALS
Since the last update in October 2010, two new bears have arrived at BSBCC: Rungus, an adult female confiscated from an animal collection in northern Sabah, and Natalie, a very young female cub surrendered to the Sabah Wildlife Department by a member of the public. Both these bears are being temporarily kept in the old bear house until they can be integrated with the resident bears in the new bear house.
Introduction to the forest enclosures at BSBCC is continuing slowly but surely and adult male bear Om and five females from the new bear house are becoming more and more accustomed to their new forest home at BSBCC and spending most of each day outside and even climbing trees!
Training with the other bears is on-going and in mid-April adult male Linggam made his first tentative steps out of his pen into the forest enclosure. Linggam is gaining confidence every day and spending longer and longer outside, digging and exploring his new forest environment.
SAD NEWS – BSBCC LOSES TWO BEARS
2011 got off to a sad start when on 1st January, young male bear Toby died after being attacked by four adult females who managed to get into Toby’s pen from an adjoining pen by forcing open the locked sliding door. The locking mechanism for the pens has since been reviewed. Subsequently, on 15th February, adult male bear Ah Chong died of natural causes in his pen. This brings the present total number of bears at BSBCC to 19.
SURPRISE VIPs at BSBCC!
On 9th April, BSBCC was surprised and delighted when ‘Avatar’ and ‘Gorillas in the Midst’ star Sigourney Weaver appeared at BSBCC and were thrilled when she showed great interest in the bears and their conservation, promising to support BSBCC any way she could on her return to the US.
Meanwhile renowned British actress Emma Thompson with her husband Greg Wise and daughter Gaia made a special visit to BSBCC on 18th April, 2011 after hearing about the sun bears while on a family holiday in Sabah. Ms Thompson has pledged her support and promised to take the message about sun bears back to the West and help promote BSBCC.