Category Archives: VIP Visitors

British High Commissioner visits the BSBCC

Text by Gloria Ganang and photos by Tee Thye Lim

On the beautiful sunny morning of the 14th August 2012, the BSBCC team started the day with a preparation for a remarkable visit of the British High Commissioner to Malaysia, HE Simon Featherstone and his family. Also present during the visit was the Council’s guests, Shire President of Boyup Mr. Michael Giles and his family, the Australian Defence Adviser and Deputy Defence Adviser as well as the new Deputy Director, Office of Australian War Graves, Canberra. Their visit to Sepilok was their first time. The BSBCC team are so honored to welcome them!

They arrived at 2pm, just in time for the bears’ 3rd feeding of the day in the forest enclosure. They were welcomed by the Officer in Charge of the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre (SOURC), Madam Sylvia Alsisto, together with the BSBCC team and a group of international volunteers.

Madam Sylvia Alsisto (right) welcoming HE Simon Featherstone and his family to Sepilok

Introducing the volunteers working at SOURC and BSBCC

Meet the BSBCC team

Their visit to the BSBCC was led by our Project Manager, Wai Pak and also assisted by other BSBCC staff. Everyone had a close view of the sun bears foraging and socializing in the forest enclosure. The staff described about the urgent needs of sun bear conservation and talked about the unfortunate background of each of the sun bears they saw in the enclosure.

BSBCC Project Manager, Wai Pak introducing the sun bears at the observation platform

After the visit to the BSBCC, the VIP visitors proceeded their visit at the SOURC which they were welcomed by a group of orang utan hanging on bamboo stems at the SOURC entrance. This is followed by a tea session with the staff. The visit ended with a presentation of souvenir to the HE Mr. Simon Featherstone. Warm wishes from the BSBCC staff! We hope you enjoyed your visit at our centre!

HE Simon Featherstone and his wife enjoying the view of orang utans hanging around at the SOURC entrance

Presenting souvenir to HE Simon Featherstone and his wife.

 

The Sabah Society-Sandakan Fellowship visiting BSBCC

Photo and text by Dr. Arthur Chung

  Despite the wet weather, some 25 people participated in the year-end gathering of the Sabah Society, Sandakan Branch at Sepilok. The event started off with the visit to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC). Its founder, Wong Siew Te and his assistant, Ng Wai Pak briefed us on the rehabilitation programme of BSBCC. The centre was established jointly with the support of the Sabah Forestry Department, Sabah Wildlife Department and LEAP (Land Empowerment Animals People). Currently, there are 23 sun bears undergoing the rehabilitation programme. Many were brought to the centre due to human-bear conflict where some were kept illegally in captivity, in cramped cages with no access to outdoors and no hope for future. Sun Bear is the world’s smallest bear species and is found in Southeast Asia, feeding on insects, fruits and honey. According to Wong, not many people know about sun bear, hence it is important to raise awareness for this little known bear and its disappearing habitat. We also had the chance to see the feeding session of the bears. They were given rice and sugarcane, and they seemed to be enjoying themselves very much. We were told that they are fed four times a day.

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A group photo of the participants.

A group photo of the participants.

Next, we proceeded to the Keruing Café at the Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC), Sepilok for our feeding time – high tea. The café is located within the Sepilok forest, overseeing part of the canopy walkway and the forest itself. The singing orchestra of the cicadas and crickets evoked the rainforest atmosphere in our midst (more so after the rain). During high tea, a member suggested a cap to be passed around for freewill donation for the sun bear conservation programme and a generous contribution of more than RM400 was collected. While leisurely chit-chatting after a hearty high tea, we spotted a giant rusty-red Flying Squirrel gliding from one tree to another. Flying Squirrel is one of the iconic features of RDC. Visitors are often mesmerized with its spectacular gliding performance, mostly at dusk. Thrilled with the squirrel’s acrobatic show, and with our stomach stuffed, we ended our fellowship just before the rain was about to pour again. Anthea Phillipps worded her article on RDC in the Sunday Daily Express dated 18th December, 2011 in a similar expression, “Watching the Flying Squirrel in action was a wonderful way to end a wonderful day.”

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BSBCC latest news July 2011

Repost from http://leapspiral.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/bsbcc-latest-news-july-2011/

MORE NEW BEARS

Two more new bears arrived at BSBCC on 22nd April 2011. Named Mamatai and Wan Wan, both are adult females and were transferred to BSBCC from Lok Kawi Wildlife Park in Kota Kinabalu by Sabah Wildlife Department.

Mamatai and Wan Wan in their temporary pen in the old bear house at BSBCC. (Photo: Paul Clenton)

Mamatai and Wan Wan in their temporary pen in the old bear house at BSBCC. (Photo: Paul Clenton)

 

INFRASTRUCTURE CONSTRUCTION

Several local contractors have submitted tenders for the BSBCC observation platform and access boardwalk construction and we hope that work will start in August this year. Meanwhile the search is still ongoing for funding for the construction of the remainder of the proposed buildings, ie. the new bear house and its forest enclosures and the visitor reception and new bear holding areas.

 

NETWORKING & SPREADING AWARENESS

In June, Wong and Wai Pak attended the Asia for Animals 2011 conference in Chengdu, China, hosted by Animals Asia Foundation. Later on in June, they also took part in the Borneo Carnivores Symposium, held in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, which brought together leading carnivore researchers working in Borneo.

Wong delivering his talk on ’The Holistic Approach of BSBCC to conserve sun bears in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo’ in Chengdu

Wong delivering his talk on ’The Holistic Approach of BSBCC to conserve sun bears in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo’ in Chengdu

Wai Pak on a field trip to the centre for rescued moon bears near Chengdu

Wai Pak on a field trip to the centre for rescued moon bears near Chengdu

FUND RAISING

An innovative event held by volunteers and supporters of BSBCC on Facebook raised an amazing USD4,152 through just two days of donations and a special on-line prize draw of donated sun bear items like paintings, artwork, soft toys and bags, from June 11-12, 2011. Many thanks to everyone involved!

 

BSBCC VISITORS

None other than the man deemed the ‘Greenest Person on the Planet’ in 2008 by 3rd Whale in Canada, Matthias Gelber, visited BSBCC on 3rd June to learn more about sun bears. BSBCC also collaborated with the Sabah Forestry Department Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC) to present a talk by Matthias to RDC Junior Rangers, local teachers and headmasters, parents and some visitors, at the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre AV room during the visit.

Matthias and friends at BSBCC’s new bear house

Matthias and friends at BSBCC’s new bear house

Caroline Gabel, long-time supporter of Wong’s research and BSBCC, paid a visit on 17th June 2011 with Wong to see for herself the good work being carried out at the Centre. Caroline is the CEO and Founder of the US-based Shared Earth Foundation, and a passionate advocate of wildlife conservation.

Caroline and Wong in the new bear house

Caroline and Wong in the new bear house

BSBCC was also happy to welcome sun bear researcher Gabriella Fredriksson from the Sun Bear Environmental Education and Research Centre near Balikpapan in Kalimantan, Indonesia. Gabriella stayed from 25th-30th June, exchanging ideas and expertise with Wong and Wai Pak and discussing future collaboration with BSBCC.

 

Gabriela showing Danial, Roshan, and Wai Pak how to conduct bear transect study in the forest.

Gabriela showing Danial, Roshan, and Wai Pak how to conduct bear transect study in the forest.

On 29th July BSBCC was very excited to receive a visit from Joe Pontecorvo, the Producer and Director of the film series Bear Trek and also Bears of the Last Frontier. Joe was part of the team that previously filmed Wong carrying out his research in 2007.

Joe Pontecorvo photographing Keningau who obligingly put in an appearance near the enclosure fencing

Joe Pontecorvo photographing Keningau who obligingly put in an appearance near the enclosure fencing

FOREST TRAINING

Introduction of the bears to the forest enclosures is progressing well and now four more of the females are entering the enclosures daily.  Linggham, whom we reported on in the last update, is now confidently roaming through his forest pen, but as with all the adult males is yet to venture up a tree!

Adult female Jelita honing her tree climbing skills in the forest enclosure

Adult female Jelita honing her tree climbing skills in the forest enclosure

Susie concentrating on breaking open a coconut and Keningau contemplating climbing a small tree!

Susie concentrating on breaking open a coconut and Keningau contemplating climbing a small tree!

Australian Governor-General Visit BSBCC

Text and photos by Wai Pak Ng

The Australian Governor-General Quentin Bryce AC visited the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre and Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre yesterday an . Her visit was welcome by the Sabah Minister of Tourism, Culture & Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun.

Her Excellency arrived at 3 pm and went straight to the orang utan feeding platform. Right after that, her Excellency came to our bear centre. I feel privileged to given the chance to introduce the Malayan Sun Bear to the governor.

We hope in the future, all of our visitors can spend a good time learning the plights of the sun bear and observing the bears at the viewing platform just like the Orang Utan Rehab Centre. We hope our second phase construction can start as soon as possible.

Governor-General Quentin Bryce AC yesterday led the Sandakan Day Memorial Service in honour of prisoners of war who perished in the infamous death marches from Sandakan to Ranau during the World War Two.

http://www.newsabahtimes.com.my/nstweb/fullstory/41553

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