Category Archives: poaching

After the 30 days

Text and Photos by Seng Yen Wah

Hooray! After 30 days, finally Noah finished quarantine. Noah is a 6 months old male bear cub. He was found in a villager’s orchard in Nabawan, a southern part of Sabah. After she realized Noah is a sun bear, a totally protected species in Sabah, she decided to surrender Noah to the Sabah Wildlife Department. And, this is the story how Noah came to BSBCC.

Opps! You found me!

He grown up so much compared to the day he first arrived! His body weight now is 12.70kg. He has started to eat solid food and his favorite foods are banana, papaya and of course Milk!

I think I got a bit hungry right now!

I think I got a bit hungry right now!

Noah is an energetic and playful bear. He is much enjoying his time playing especially with his bear care keeper. A bear cub is ideally attached to his/her mother until it two to three years old. But, now Noah is alone being just six months old. A mother will never abandon her own child. The only reason for the mother to be with her cubs would that she had been killed most likely by poachers. And make no mistake, poaching is still happening around us. So, please said No to poaching sun bears, instead help us save them. A bear cub needs a mother. A mother raises her child with lots of love and teaches her baby how to survive in the wild. Separation of mother and cub is unforgivable for any reason. The poachers deprive a bear cub almost everything, their mother and their natural habitat.

Why the poacher brought me away from my mother? I miss her!

Why the poacher brought me away from my mother? I miss her!

Our bear care keepers spend their time with Noah and try to give Noah as much love as possible even though they know their love cannot compare with that given by his mother. So now, Noah likes to play fight with bear care keepers. He likes to take a challenge and never gives up. Bear care keepers are taking a huge responsible to take good care of him and teach him the skills that he could survive in the wild such as defense skill. Noah likes water very much. He likes to cool his body down by lying on the ground just like he is ‘swimming’ but on the ground.

This is where I stay and I like it so much!

This is where I stay and I like it so much!

What is this?

What is this?

Just one?

Just one?

No, here got more!

No, here got more!

Let me have a bite on it!

Let me have a bite on it!

I am trying hard here!

I am trying hard here!

I got it!!

I got it!!

I am feeling shy.

I am feeling shy.

In order to let Noah closer to the forest and more space for him to explore, in the morning he can go out to exercise pen. The exercise pen is near to the forest, so Noah can smell the forest. Within the exercise pen, there are different kinds of enrichment ready for him such as hammocks, dry leaves, decayed wood, fire hoses, honey combs and so on. Therefore, Noah likes to spend his time digging the decayed wood, playing with the tree leaves.

Let me show you, my playground!!

Let me show you, my playground!!

My second playground!

My second playground!

This is my new toy!

This is my new toy!

Let me show you how I play with my new toy! Just like this!!

Let me show you how I play with my new toy! Just like this!!

At last, we hope Noah has all the courage and left his unhappy early life behind here at the BSBCC. And, we really hope Noah will back to his real home, the forest – sooner or later.

Specialties of the Sun Bear

Text and Photos by Seng Yen Wah

There are no words that can tell how much I love to walk in the forest in the sun.

There are no words that can tell how much I love to walk in the forest in the sun.

Every bear carries different baggage arriving to BSBCC. But they learn everything necessary from the beginning in the forest enclosure with their friends.

In nature, sun bear cubs stay with their mothers until they two to three years old. When people take cubs away from their mothers, they also take away their chance of learning the survival skills from their mothers as well. If people only keep them as a pet in a small cage, they can never learn what they need to survive in the wild. This is the reason why our integration program becomes so important for the bears.

The best enrichment for a bear is another bear. When they spend their time with their friends, they can learn relevant skills from them. Besides that, socialization can help to reduce bears stereotypical behavior. The forest enclosure provides them with a natural environment and enough space where they can explore with lots of activities, such as foraging, digging, climbing and play fight with each other.

Loki, you see I found a watermelon here and lots of delicious fruits. –Sunbearo

Loki, you see I found a watermelon here and lots of delicious fruits. –Sunbearo

You got one and I got one too.

You got one and I got one too.

There is no one to disturb our nap time.

There is no one to disturb our nap time.

Sun bears are the smallest bears among the bear species. But, they have the longest tongue amongst their peers. Their tongue is about 25cm to 30cm long. They not only use their long tongue to lick the honey out of bee nests, but also eat small insects found in decayed wood, such as ants and termites. By using their long tongue, they can reach the deep inside of bee nests or decayed wood to get themselves lots of yummy treats.

Sun bears have a keen olfactory sense. In order to encourage them to utilize their sense of smell, food is scattered around in the forest enclosures by bear keepers. This will encourage them to do more foraging. In the forest enclosure, they can also forage for the small insects.

Let me use my sense of smell to find the small insects for my yummy snack.

Let me use my sense of smell to find the small insects for my yummy snack.

I think I found a small insect in the dead wood.

I think I found a small insect in the dead wood.

Sun bears have very strong canines and sharp claws. They are the excellent climbers. With the help of their curved shape claws, the can climb up trees reaching to 60m heights. Sun bears are the arboreal animals. They climb up on trees for sunbathing and resting. Besides that, there are using their claws for tearing apart the dead wood to get their important source of protein, the small insects as well.

These leaves smell good!!

These leaves smell good!!

Opps, my belly.

Opps, my belly.

Let me do some exercise.

Let me do some exercise.

Should I climb up higher?

Should I climb up higher?

I think I need to take a rest first.

I think I need to take a rest first.

You see how I’m using my canines to bite on the tree branch.

You see how I’m using my canines to bite on the tree branch.

I got busy foraging here.

I got busy foraging here.

Sun bears are a forest dependent species. The expertise of sun bears in their habitat makes them survive in the wild. However, poaching issues are still threatening their survival even though sun bears are a totally protected species under the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment of 1997. Poachers are continuously hunting them illegally for consumption, medicine or decorative purposes. Please save the sun bears. They deserve to stay in the wild free and happy. Thank you!

Please save the sun bears.

Please save the sun bears.

Just the Way It Should be For a Sun Bear Cub

Text and Photos by Chiew Lin May

“Growling, and bawling loudly” every day from one of the female sun bear cub, Dodop. Sun bear cubs will begin bawling long, and loud when frightened or separated from their mothers. Cubs also scream in distress like human babies. This has happened to Dodop because she was treated like a pet, kept in a house and lost her four permanent canines. She has absolutely no fear of humans and has loss of wild instinct. Usually mother and sun bear cubs will stay together in the wild for two to three years, as they should be. It is likely that Wawa and Dodop’s mothers were killed by poachers. Their mother defends them, warms them, nurses them and teaches them survival skills. Sun bear cubs require around the clock care. This is undoubtedly why Dodop looks so sad and depressed when her care taker is not around.

So our Bear Care unitmade the decision that Dodop and Wawa need to be introduced to have their first ever bear friend. Finally the big day arrived on 25th June 2016, where we integrated Dodop with Wawa. Dodop is 11 months old and Wawa is 7 months old. She is bigger than Wawa. On that day, Dodop was transferred to an adjacent den. It was a new environment for Dodop at the beginning but she quickly adapted to it.

As soon as Wawa saw Dodop, she kept barking in a deep voice at Dodop for the first 15 minutes. Dodop was shocked and barked back. But Wawa being the curious one went into the den where Dodop was located, and tried to approach, and sniff her. Wawa wrestled her and was teaching Dodop to fight back by showing small, strong canines and small, sharp claws! The cubs wrestled and pawed non-stop with one another for about 30 minutes before one of them gave up for a rest.

Wawa was very curious towards Dodop and barked on her during their first meeting.

This is a special day for Dodop and Wawa. This could be their first contact with another sun bear after a very long time.

They still definitely curious!

This friend as something to say…

Wawa already start her curiosity and playfulness.

 

Wawa and Dodop share the same large dens. Wawa is willing to let Dodop explore the world but only on her terms! They spend a lot of time climbing enrichment structures, wresting each other, chasing, sharing the same enrichment and taking naps inside the hammock or basket. They have developed and acquired new survival skills as wild bears. They have big appetites! They keep putting on weight and eating a variety of food, including milk, sweet corn, banana, papaya, honey dew, watermelon and honey. Both of them tend to get more fruits on themselves than in their mouth!  Wawa now weighs 16.10kg and Dodop weighs 20.90 kg. Wawa is the more outgoing of the two cubs. Dodop’s condition is continuing to improve and she has becomea more confident little cub after meeting her new friend, Wawa.

Wawa is the kind of bear who is up for anything…

Dodop has a distinct personality and habits that are unique to her. She enjoys the love and attention she receives.

They spend a great deal of their time playing and wrestling together.

They spend a great deal of their time playing and wrestling together.

They spend a great deal of their time playing and wrestling together.

A great new playmate!! Dodop (left) is pawing Wawa (right).

Wawa show to Dodop that she has strength too!

Wawa show to Dodop that she has strength too!

All happily grasped between grateful paws.

PLAYTIME!!

Bear cub keepers give the cubs various enrichment items – these could be dead logs, puzzle feeders, the Aussie dog ball, dry leaves, green leaves,a fire hose pocket filled with peanut butter and many others. Both of them are extremely playful and love to investigate the new toys together. They socialize with each other and explore their surroundings.

Wawa shows more dominance compared to Dodop. Although being the youngest and smallest, she never feels threatened by Dodop. For the rest of the weeks, they integrated well and cared for each other better. No serious aggression was noted. They spend more time learning how to be in a beautiful friendship, and to be happy, healthy, agile sun bears after all that they have been through. For them, life is full of happiness and filled with new things to explore which is just the way it should be for a sun bear cub.

Even Wawa was smaller than Dodop. Wawa is total boss.

They love to mock wrestle with each other.

They are full of enthusiasm who enjoys making the maximum use of enrichments in the dens.

They are full of enthusiasm who enjoys making the maximum use of enrichments in the dens.

They are full of enthusiasm who enjoys making the maximum use of enrichments in the dens.

They are full of enthusiasm who enjoys making the maximum use of enrichments in the dens.

They are full of enthusiasm who enjoys making the maximum use of enrichments in the dens.

They are full of enthusiasm who enjoys making the maximum use of enrichments in the dens.

Sometimes they play, sometimes they find a tasty snack, and sometimes they nap far above the ground.

So much happier with their pain and trauma removed.

They are many more sun bears suffering due to habitat loss, hunting and illegal wildlife trade. The number of sun bears have fallen by at least 30% over the past 30 years. We need to highlight ending wildlife trafficking which includes ending demand, strengthening wildlife laws and enforcement. We need to stand up and do our part!

Rescued sunbear finds new home

New Straits Times, 7 August 2015

BY KRISTY INUS

SANDAKAN: A three-month old sunbear cub which was up for sale in the interior Paitan, has now been placed under the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre’s (BSBCC) protection near here as of Wednesday.

The female bear which was named Tan-Tan is the 44th rescued sunbear since the centre was set up six years ago, according to a statement from BSBCC and Sabah Wildlife Department.

BSBCC founder and chief executive officer Wong Siew Te said a concerned citizen came across a villager trying to sell the cub.

“The person bought the cub and informed the Sabah Wildlife Department, leading to the department’s Wildlife Rescue Unit sending her to our Centre. With her addition, we now have 35 bears presently at the Centre.

“The cub is under quarantine and is being given round the clock care by our staff,” said Wong.

Sunbear is one of the 11 listed under Totally Protected Species (Schedule 1) which included the Sumatran Rhinoceros, orang utan, Borneo pygmy elephants and clouded leopard.

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) Founder and chief executive officer Wong Siew Te receiving the rescued sun bear cub which was sent to the centre in Sepilok, Sandakan on Wednesday

 

Damai, Sun Bear Cub Diary – Explore in Forest Part VIII

Text and Photos by Chiew Lin May


She belongs in the forest,
not in a cage or as a pet.

She looked at you all as if to say, ‘please help me !! ‘

Damai was famous with  “Mystery of the sun bear at car porch “.  Damai was ended up at a car porch of a housing area in Damai, Kota Kinabalu and until now she is likely to remain a mystery. Damai has been sent to Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre ( BSBCC) on last  year November 5th. We named this female sun bear cub  “Damai”, after the place where she was found. Damai means “peace” in Malay. Now she is 11 months old with her weight is 19.3kg.

” I share this earth with you. “

Sun bears need diverse and healthy rainforest to survive.

Nobody knows how many sun bears remain in the wild. Sun bear is classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List.

Please DO NOT poaching for bear parts and capture of sun bear as pet !!

While we are unsure of the exact details of Damai past, we know for certain sun bear cubs were illegally kept as pets. As is the case with so many orphaned sun bear at our Center, their mothers were most likely killed by poachers  as the rainforests around them were cut and cleared  for palm oil or other agriculture. This is really sad our rainforest lost every year. The only habitat on Earth where sun  bears, orangutans, clouded leopards and elephants  all are roam together!! Please help save sun bears and their rainforest home. Together we make the difference !!

Please always help us spread the words for sun bears !!

Two rare Malayan sun bears found in abandoned Cambodian garment factory

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/02/22/two-rare-malayan-sun-bears-found-in-abandoned-cambodian-garment-factory/

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, February 22, 2013 9:15 EST

Sun bear Dawy at Phnom Tamao Zoo south of Phnom Penh in 2008. (AFP)

 
 

Two rare Malayan sun bears have been rescued in Cambodia after being discovered in an abandoned garment factory, a zoo official said Friday.

The male and female bears were rescued by officials from the Phnom Tamao Zoo and the Wildlife Alliance, who found them in the factory in southern Kandal province last week, according to zoo director Nhek Rattanak Pich.

“The bears were left with no food and no one to care for them after the factory owner fled the country,” the Wildlife Alliance said on its website.

The group said local authorities had called them after the bears were found in purpose-built cages at the factory, which closed without notice in December.

The bears are now being cared for at the zoo, its director said, adding that he did not know why they had been kept at the factory.

The Malayan sun bear is found primarily in Southeast Asia and is classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Bears are among many species that have been decimated by wildlife trafficking in Asia, which is fuelled in large part by China’s massive appetite for exotic meats and animal parts for traditional medicine.

 
 
 
 

Medicine practitioners urged to help reduce bear bile demand

http://www.traffic.org/home/2012/11/16/medicine-practitioners-urged-to-help-reduce-bear-bile-demand.html

Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia 16th November 2012—“Traditional medicine practitioners have a crucial role to play in reducing the demand for bear bile and gallbladder that drives the illegal trade in South-East Asia’s bears,” TRAFFIC told delegates to the 9th World Congress of Chinese Medicine held in Kuching, Sarawak in Malaysia last week.

The Congress, one of the industry’s most important annual gatherings, serves as a platform for specialists from all over the world to present the latest developments in Chinese medicine. The theme of this year’s Congress was Traditional Chinese Medicine—contributing factor to the harmony of humans and nature.

Speaking at the Congress, TRAFFIC Deputy Regional Director in South-East Asia, Dr Chris R. Shepherd, described how TRAFFIC’s research had shown that continued demand for traditional medicines made from bear parts and derivatives posed a severe threat to wild bear populations in Asia.

Both bear species in South-East Asia—the Asian Black Bear Ursus thibetanus and Sun Bear Helarctos malayanus—are hunted, especially for their gallbladder, which contains bile—a key ingredient in some traditional medicines.

A 2011 TRAFFIC study, Pills, Powders, Vials & Flakes: The bear bile trade in Asia (PDF, 1 MB), had shown such trade to be widespread, often carried out openly, despite it being illegal, and revealed that many of the farms supplying bear gallbladder and bile are stocking their facilities with wild-caught bears and not captive bred ones as often claimed.

Surveys have repeatedly found China to be the main source of the bear bile products on sale throughout South-East Asia. Such international trade in South-East Asian bears, and their parts and derivatives, is strictly prohibited by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Both South-East Asian bear species are listed in Appendix I of the Convention, which prohibits international commercial trade. They are also both listed as Vulnerable by IUCN, because of their declining populations in the wild.

In September 2012, a Motion to phase out bear bile extraction facilities stocked with wild-caught bears was overwhelmingly passed at the IUCN World Conservation Congress, held in Jeju, South Korea.

The Motion also recommended Parties to CITES to implement fully the legislation to prevent illegal international trade in Asian Black and Sun Bears and products derived from them, and promote greater public awareness of these issues to reduce the demand for bear products.

“While the IUCN Motion is a step in the right direction, it is absolutely critical too that efforts be made to reduce greatly the demand for bear bile. In addition to increased enforcement efforts, active participation from the traditional medicine practitioners and retailers is essential to meet this goal,” said Shepherd.

TRAFFIC is also urging authorities to step up their efforts to shut down the illegal trade, and ensure those violating CITES and national legislations are penalized.

“There are legal herbal alternatives to bear bile – consumers need to be made aware of this and be persuaded to stop using medicine containing bear bile,” added Shepherd.

 

Mystery of the sun bear at car porch

Sunday November 4, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/11/4/nation/12271574&sec=nation

KOTA KINABALU: How a sun bear cub ended up at a car porch of a house in Damai, a bustling housing area here, is likely to remain a mystery.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu said the three-month-old female cub found by a resident two days ago could have been illegally reared.

“When our officers went back to the place to ask about it the next morning, no one owned up to it,” he said.

Damai is a mere 10-minute drive from here.

Ambu said those found guilty of rearing or possessing protected species such as the Borneon sun bear could face a mandatory jail term between one month and a year.

The presence of the 4kg cub was known when the dog belonging to the house owner Blue Lum, 38, kept barking on Thursday night.

The cub is now at the Lok Kawi zoo. It will be sent to the Sepilok Borneon Sun Bear Conservation Centre.

Man finds sun bear cub outside his home

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=%2F2012%2F11%2F3%2Fnation%2F12269262&sec=nation

Saturday November 3, 2012

Surprising discovery: A Sabah Civil Defence personnel holding the sun bear cub after they captured it at a house in Kota Kinabalu.

 

KOTA KINABALU: The non-stop barking of his dog made a 38-year-old businessman step out of his house to take a look.

Blue Lum saw what looked like a puppy in his car porch.

“I left it alone and went in to watch television,” he said.

When the barking continued, Lum’s son went out to look and was shocked to discover there was a sun bear cub outside.

Lum said he immediately asked his son to come back into the house and then called the Civil Defence Department.

Kota Kinabalu Civil Defence Department officer Mohd Hazle Shah Hamid said a call was received at about 10pm and officers were immediately despatched to capture the cub.

“It was not violent when our officers carried it and put it in a cage.

“We suspect the sun bear cub was being kept by someone as it was unlikely to have wandered here from the forest,” he said.

Rangers from the Lok Kawi Zoo arrived about an hour later and the cub is now in their care.

The sun bear or honey bear is found in the tropical rainforest of peninsula Malaysia and the islands of Sumatra and Borneo.

 

They keep coming!

Text and photos by Siew Te Wong

On the night of Feb 20th, BSBCC received another new rescued sun bear from the Sabah Wildlife Department Wildlife Rescue Unit. This female sun bear yearling (1-2 year old bear), that we named “Koko” is the latest rescued sun bear by Sabah Wildlife Department and sent to BSBCC.

Koko appeared to be healthy and in good body condition. She was calmed on the night she arrived at the centre. We place her at a temporary cage for the time being until her new den is ready in few days. The next day after recovering from the stress associated from the transportation, Koko seems to be a bit feisty when I approached her. However, she got a good appetite and took all the food we gave her.

I called the Koko’s owner Robert from Telipok this morning to understand more about the story behind Koko. Apparently Koko was captured by a hunter (poacher) originally from Keningau on a hunting (poaching) trip early last year. Koko’s mother probably being killed by the poacher and Koko was kept as pet at the same time looking for a potential buyer. This is a typical story of almost all rescued sun bear in BSBCC. Robert heard from his friend about a sun bear cub for sale. He paid RM350 for Koko and realized that she is no longer a small, cute cub. He later seeks advice from his friend who works with the Sabah Wildlife Department. The wildlife department staff convinced him to surrender Koko to the Sabah Wildlife Department. They sent Koko to SWD’s Lok Kawi Zoo last weekend and the zoo sent her to us on Monday night.

With 25 rescued sun bears under the care of BSBCC, the urgency of building another new bear house is escalating. At the moment our capacity is only for 20 sun bears. This is the 2nd sun bear cubs we received in approximately one month time and we do not know how many sun bear will be rescued and be sent to BSBCC in the near future. We can only be glad that we are here to help these animals and never happy to see they end up at BSBCC. We have to stop all illegal activities such as poaching, killing, eating, and keeping sun bears. Please help BSBCC to achieve these goals.

Read more on how you can help us and the sun bears:

 http://sunbears.wildlifedirect.org/how-can-you-help-sun-bears/

Koko in her transportation cage. After a 7 hour trip from Lok Kawi Zoo, she finally arrived at BSBCC at 8:30 pm on Monday night.

Koko in her transportation cage. After a 7 hour trip from Lok Kawi Zoo, she finally arrived at BSBCC at 8:30 pm on Monday night.

We placed her at a temporary cage for few more days as we prepare for her new home. She needs to be quarantined for 30 days before she can have any contact with other bears in the centre.

We placed her at a temporary cage for few more days as we prepare for her new home. She needs to be quarantined for 30 days before she can have any contact with other bears in the centre.

 Wa i Pak gave her some electrolyte drinks to boost her water loss during the journey.

Wa i Pak gave her some electrolyte drinks to boost her water loss during the journey.

I thought she was a small cub but she is already a yearling, maybe weigh 20 kg, in good condition.

I thought she was a small cub but she is already a yearling, maybe weigh 20 kg, in good condition.

She is surprising tame and calmed for the stressful event. I was stressed out when was informed we have another bear coming our way because we are full! We need a second bear house urgently.

She is surprising tame and calmed for the stressful event. I was stressed out when was informed we have another bear coming our way because we are full! We need a second bear house urgently.

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