Free Malaysia Today (FMT), 14th December 2013
By Alfian ZM Tahir
SANDAKAN: FreeMalaysiaToday (FMT) today joined forces with a Sabah-based conservation group – Borneo Sun Bears Conservation Centre (BSBCC) – to launch a four-month campaign to save Sun Bears in Sepilok.
The campaign, aimed at raising funds for the Sun Bear conservation programme in Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve near Sandakan will run until April10, next year.
“We are proud to be part of this campaign to protect the Sun Bears,” FMT editor-in-chief Kabilan said.
FMT also announced its expansion to cover Borneo with more in-depth reporting with the launch of its sister site FMT Borneo Plus.
Kabilan said FMT Borneo Plus will be a dedicated news portal catering for Sabah, Sarawak and other parts of Borneo and its periphery.
“FMT Borneo Plus will officially go online Jan 15, next year,” he added.
He said FMT Borneo Plus will start a series of articles on conservation efforts in Sabah and Sarawak as well as invite readers to support the cause by donating directly to the Borneo Sun Bears Conservation Centre.
“We are having a two day soft launch exercise in Kabili-Sepilok and at the Harbour Mall in Sandakan on Dec 14 and 15,” he added.
FMT Borneo Plus also hopes to raise awareness on conservation efforts in the state,” he added.
Meanwhile BSBCC founder Wong Siew Te said funds collected will be used to build much needed fencing around the sanctuary, enabling the bears to roam free.
The 44-year old biologist added that the centre’s work was not confined to just rehabilitating the sun bears and saving them from becoming victims of animal trafficking but also educating and empowering the public on the need to save these creatures.
“Sun Bears are amazing animals, they are not the ferocious type but people tend to think that they are violent in reality they are not.”
“A nationwide campaign is needed to create awareness about this amazing wildlife. The time has come for us to learn about them,” Wong said.
Also present at today’s event Sheraton Sandakan envoy Sangeetha Phary, the current Miss MalaysiaIndian Global beauty pagent winner.
The 24 year old Cambridge University scholar was crowned in October this year.
FMT Borneo Plus-Save the Sun Bears campaign is partnered by the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre and Kuala Lumpur-based MMICARE Association under its 13-year-old Community and Environment Awareness (CEA) program.
The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve near Sandakan opened in 2008.
It is located next to the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre and is the first such centre in the world dedicated to caring for sun bears.