Come and enjoy a fantastic family day out and help us raise money to save the ‘Forgotten Bear’!
On the Sunday 24th and Monday the 25th of May 2009, the Sun Bear Conservation Trust in conjunction with the Rare Species Conservation Centre in Sandwich, Kent are holding a ‘Sun Bear Conservation Weekend’ to raise money for the conservation of Sun Bears – the worlds smallest and least well known bear.
The Rare Species Conservation Centre is home to some of the world’s lesser known rare and endangered species, often overlooked in other more mainstream zoological establishments, such as: the Fat Tailed Dwarf lemur, the Arabian Sand Cat and of course, the Sun Bear. The centre was established in 2006 and forms part of The Rare Species Conservation Trust which is a registered U.K. charity (Registered charity number 1119230). Apart from running the Rare Species Conservation Centre, The Rare Species Conservation Trust also supports and runs various other in-situ conservation projects in the field. Thanks to the their kind generosity, members of the Sun Bear Conservation Trust will be hosting a number of stalls and attractions at the centre on the second May Bank Holiday including a raffle, cake stall and information stand, all to raise money for rescued Sun Bears in South-East Asia.
The Sun Bear Conservation Trust (SBCT) is a charitable organisation founded in 2008 by a group of enthusiastic volunteers who have been lucky enough to work with Sun Bears in Borneo. SBCT is currently working towards becoming a registered charity and has been holding several events across the country to achieve the mandatory fundraising threshold to register. It is hoped that the money raised on the ‘Sun Bears Conservation Weekend’ at the Rare Species Conservation Centre will help the SBCT achieve this goal. All money raised by SBCT so far is being used to support the work carried out by the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, a sanctuary for orphaned and rescued Sun Bears, based at the famous Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sabah, Eastern Borneo. The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre is using the money donated to help build a much needed new centre for the Sun Bears they look after and also for the bear’s ongoing care. It is the hoped that, with the help of the money raised in the future, the majority of Sun Bears rescued by the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre will be rehabilitated and released into the wild. SBCT also hope to use some of the money raised in the future to raise awareness of the plight faced by the Sun Bear.
What is a Sun Bear?
The Sun Bear, which is also known as honey bear, is the smallest of the world’s eight bear species and also one of the most threatened. They can be found in several South-East Asian countries including, Malaysia, Indonesia and China, but their number are decreasing in all the countries in which they inhabit. Sun Bears can grow to just over a metre in length, stand approximately 2.5ft tall when standing on all four feet and rarely weigh more than 65kg. Sun Bears have sleek short fur, brown or black in colour with a cream coloured crescent on their chest said to resemble the rising and setting sun. They have a small tail and a very long tongue which helps them reach larvae, termites and of course honey hidden in the forest. Sun Bears have long curved claws and a pigeon towed gait, both of which make them excellent tree climbers. Sun Bears in the wild will often build nests high in the trees in which to sleep or sunbathe during the day.
Threats to the Sun Bear
Major threats currently faced by these unique animals are illegal poaching and habitat destruction, however, Sun Bear body parts are also highly sought after for traditional Chinese remedies, in particular Sun Bear bile. Bile from Sun Bears is collected in Bear Bile farms where bears are kept in tiny cages and their bile continually collected from open wounds in their abdomen. The bears in these farms suffer substantial amounts of pain and often get large tumours and fatal infections as a result of their treatment
Sun Bears paws are also considered a delicacy in some South East Asian countries and in some cases, the bears paws are cut off while the animal is still alive. Adult mother Sun Bears are also often killed for their babies which are then sold as pets. In all of the above cases Sun Bears suffer tremendously. It is estimate that the worlds Sun Bear population has declined by at least 30% over the past 30 years and continues to decline at this rate. It is also one of the 6 bear species threatened with extinction.
Please come along on to the ‘Sun Bear Conservation Weekend’ at the Rare Species Conservation Centre on the 24th and 25th May for a fun filled family day out and help us protect this beautiful species. For more information on Sun Bears and the work carried out by the Sun Bear Conservation Trust and the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation, please visit: http://sunbears.wildlifedirect.org/
Or contact Fiona McInally on 07872919152, [email protected]
Or Julie Trump on 07950611970 or at [email protected]
For more information on the Rare Species Conservation Centre, please visit www.rarespeciesconservationcentre.org
The Rare Species Conservation Centre is situated on the A256 Dover Road Roundabout, just outside of Sandwich, Kent.
The centre is open 10 am – 6 pm (last admission is 5 pm)
Entry fees: Adults £8