Tag Archives: sun bear

Sun Bears Target Of Demand In Traditional Medicine

http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v7/newsindex.php?id=957735

By Haslin Gaffor

SANDAKAN, June 21 (Bernama) — Hunted for generations in the jungles of Borneo for the bile from its gall bladder and for food, the Malayan Sun Bear continues to be a target for the ever present global demand in traditional medicine and exotic meat, threatening the world’s smallest bear which is said to have dwindled in numbers by 30 per cent in the last three decades.

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) founder and chief executive officer Wong Siew Te said natives, particularly in Borneo, traditionally believe that the Sun Bear’s bile ejects itself out of the gall bladder and spreads inside a bear’s body, healing injuries in a fall.

“Sun Bears can climb high up on trees and normally climb down slowly from the tree. However when they encounter human encroachment in the forest when they are on a tree, they tend to slide down quickly or even drop themselves from the tree. They then recover quickly and go about their day.

“This has erroneously made people believe that the phenomenon is due to the power of the Sun Bear bile that spreads within the body and heals the bears, allowing them to recover instantly. This is why Sun Bears are traditionally hunted in the wild for their bile, apart from their meat,” Wong said.

He said in some parts of the world, Asiatic Black Bears are kept in unimaginably cruel conditions in small metal cages and their bile extracted for up to 20 years, and then killed once they are unable to produce the liquid.

While there are no bear bile farms in Malaysia, bear bile is consumed locally. Bear gall bladder, bear bile capsules and other bile products are sold illegally in traditional medicine stores.

“With this demand, Sun Bears continue to be at risk of getting hunted in the wild,” he said in a statement here today, to create awareness on the plight of Sun Bears.

While the actual number of Sun Bears in the wild is unknown, its status as a ‘Totally Protected’ species under the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment and its listing as “Vulnerable” on The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List is not keeping those after its bile away from the risk of prosecution.

Under the Enactment, those found in possession of a Sun Bear or its product could face a fine of up to RM50,000 or a jail term of five years, or both.

Wong said Sun Bears are still hunted in Borneo for their purported medicinal properties, and he cited a recent news report on bear meat and parts being sold at a market in Kapit, Sarawak.

Other threats that Sun Bears face include habitat loss and demand for the exotic pet trade.

“Sun Bear cubs are cute and there is demand for such a pet. To get a cub, the mother is killed to prevent hunters from getting harmed. Once these cubs grow, they become aggressive and it becomes dangerous to keep them as pets.

“This is when they are surrendered to the authorities. They lose survival skills when kept as pets, as this is something they learn from their mothers,” he said.

Bears surrendered to or confiscated by the Sabah Wildlife Department are sent to the BSBCC adjacent to the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre. It is currently home to 28 Sun Bears.

Awareness activities will be stepped up once the BSBCC is officially opened to the public, tentatively by early next year.

The BSBCC is planning to hold a fund raiser on July 20 in Sandakan to meet the ever increasing costs of caring for Sun Bears in captivity and for awareness work.

The fundraising dinner with the theme “Big Dreams, Little Bears” will see Wong sharing with guests updates on Sun Bears, apart from an exclusive photographic art auction by Jonathan Tan and performances by Jaclyn Victor, Gary Chow, Pink Tan and Amir Yussof and friends.

A free documentary screening is scheduled for July 21 at the Sabah Hotel for 500 students, teachers and representatives of local associations.

The BSBCC is a non-governmental organisation set up in 2008 through collaboration of the Sabah Wildlife Department, Sabah Forestry Department and Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP).

Major funders for BSBCC include Yayasan Sime Darby, the federal Tourism Ministry, Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry, the Sabah State Government and other foreign and local organisations.

— BERNAMA

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/features/article/sun-bears-target-of-demand-in-traditional-medicine/

June 21, 2013

 

Hunted for generations in the jungles of Borneo for the bile from its gall bladder and for food, the Malayan Sun Bear (pic) continues to be a target for the ever present global demand in traditional medicine and exotic meat, threatening the world’s smallest bear which is said to have dwindled in numbers by 30 per cent in the last three decades.

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) founder and chief executive officer Wong Siew Te said natives, particularly in Borneo, traditionally believe that the Sun Bear’s bile ejects itself out of the gall bladder and spreads inside a bear’s body, healing injuries in a fall.

Sun Bears can climb high up on trees and normally climb down slowly from the tree.

However when they encounter human encroachment in the forest when they are on a tree, they tend to slide down quickly or even drop themselves from the tree.

They then recover quickly and go about their day.

This has erroneously made people believe that the phenomenon is due to the power of the Sun Bear bile that spreads within the body and heals the bears, allowing them to recover instantly.

“This is why Sun Bears are traditionally hunted in the wild for their bile, apart from their meat,” Wong said.

He said in some parts of the world, Asiatic Black Bears are kept in unimaginably cruel conditions in small metal cages and their bile extracted for up to 20 years, and then killed once they are unable to produce the liquid.

While there are no bear bile farms in Malaysia, bear bile is consumed locally.

Bear gall bladder, bear bile capsules and other bile products are sold illegally in traditional medicine stores.

“With this demand, Sun Bears continue to be at risk of getting hunted in the wild,” he said in a statement here today, to create awareness on the plight of Sun Bears.

While the actual number of Sun Bears in the wild is unknown, its status as a ‘Totally Protected’ species under the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment and its listing as “Vulnerable” on The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List is not keeping those after its bile away from the risk of prosecution.

Under the Enactment, those found in possession of a Sun Bear or its product could face a fine of up to RM50,000 or a jail term of five years, or both.

Wong said Sun Bears are still hunted in Borneo for their purported medicinal properties, and he cited a recent news report on bear meat and parts being sold at a market in Kapit, Sarawak.

Other threats that Sun Bears face include habitat loss and demand for the exotic pet trade.

Sun Bear cubs are cute and there is demand for such a pet.

To get a cub, the mother is killed to prevent hunters from getting harmed.

Once these cubs grow, they become aggressive and it becomes dangerous to keep them as pets.

“This is when they are surrendered to the authorities. They lose survival skills when kept as pets, as this is something they learn from their mothers,” he said.

Bears surrendered to or confiscated by the Sabah Wildlife Department are sent to the BSBCC adjacent to the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre.

It is currently home to 28 Sun Bears.

Awareness activities will be stepped up once the BSBCC is officially opened to the public, tentatively by early next year.

The BSBCC held a fund raiser on July 20 in Sandakan to meet the ever increasing costs of caring for Sun Bears in captivity and for awareness work.

The fundraising dinner with the theme “Big Dreams, Little Bears” saw Wong sharing with guests updates on Sun Bears and an exclusive photographic art auction by Jonathan Tan as well as performances by Jaclyn Victor, Gary Chow, Pink Tan and Amir Yussof and friends.

A free documentary screening is scheduled today at the Sabah Hotel for 500 students, teachers and representatives of local associations.

The BSBCC is a non-governmental organisation set up in 2008 through collaboration of the Sabah Wildlife Department, Sabah Forestry Department and Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP).

Major funders for BSBCC include Yayasan Sime Darby, the federal Tourism Ministry, Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry, the Sabah State Government and other foreign and local organisations. – Bernama, June 21, 2013.

Habitat loss and poaching threatens survival of Sun Bears

http://www.nst.com.my/latest/habitat-loss-and-poaching-threatens-survival-of-sun-bears-1.283981#ixzz2U1Kiromo

 

SANDAKAN: Habitat loss and poaching have led to a decline of up to 30 per cent of the Malayan sun bear population in the last three decades, according to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC).

In Borneo, this smallest of the world’s eight bear species is also seeing a drop in numbers following their illegal capture for the pet trade and when they are wrongly perceived as pests and gunned down, said BSBCC founder and chief executive officer Wong Siew Te.

The Polar Bear, Brown Bear, American Black Bear, Spectacled Bear, Sloth Bear, Giant Panda and Asiatic Black Bear are other better known bear species.

Found throughout mainland Asia, Sumatra in Indonesia and Borneo, the exact number of sun bears in the wild is unknown, making it even more pressing toreduce pressure on a species that is classified as “vulnerable” on the IUCN(International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List, and at risk of becoming endangered unless circumstances threatening their survival improve.

Sun bears are also classified as a totally protected species under the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997, providing it the same status as the Orang Utan and the Sumatran Rhinoceros.

Wong said the sun bear was divided into two sub-species – the Helarctosmalayanus malayanus and the Helarctos malayanus euryspilus, with the latter, smaller bear found only in Borneo.

“In other words, sun bears in Borneo are even smaller than the sun bears found in other parts of Malaysia and the region.

We hope to share with more locals how fortunate we are that such a unique bear is found here in Borneo, and right here in Sabah,” he said in a statement.

He said the shrinking forest cover made poaching and capturing of wild bear seasier due to increased contact with human settlements.

“Our centre is now holding 28 rescued bears. Some were illegally kept as pets and others were trapped in the forest, and sent here.

“Bears here are trained to adapt to the forest within an enclosed area as some have never been in the wild, having been kept as pets from a young age. They are then evaluated to see if they can be released into the wild,” he said.

The centre is located adjacent to the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, here.

“In Borneo, sun bears continue to face threat from habitat destruction and poaching. We need to protect the remaining forest cover if we are to secure the future of the sun bears and, at the same time, eliminate any poaching of these bears in the wild,” Wong said.

He said awareness activities would be stepped up once the centre was officially opened to the public, tentatively by early next year.   — BERNAMA

Read more: Habitat loss and poaching threatens survival of Sun Bears – Latest – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/latest/habitat-loss-and-poaching-threatens-survival-of-sun-bears-1.283981#ixzz2U5JxJsxD

Volunteering – Open Arms of BSBCC

By Amanda Shia, BSBCC volunteer: Feb 18-March 31, 2013

April 9, 2013

One of the question laid in my volunteer’s application form was, “What do you expect to learn by the end of the program?”

That was two months ago. Frankly speaking, I knew nothing of managing, ecology or morphology of neither sun bears nor anything about them except for a general fact they are the smallest species of bears in the world. I went on volunteering for experience, for knowledge, to simply drop that barricade bricks of limited knowledge and take in information in, to discover more through volunteering under 6 weeks.

Welcomed by Gloria and Dawn on the first day! To be introduced to Thye Lim that gave induction on routines in the bear house and safety procedures to follow. In the bear house, formally introduced to David, Beyri, Lin May, Julian, Tommy and Azzry. Everything and everyone was new to me, and astonishing to know out of all the volunteers, I was the second volunteer from Sandakan to be volunteering there.

Daily tasks that revolve around the sun bears are food preparation, cleaning cages, feeding and making enrichments. With routines, practice to be efficient in those tasks gets easier. Trust me when I say that cleaning the cages were not difficult. It was built equipped with water basin and a basket for the bears to sleep. With their diet that consists dominantly by fruits, their faeces are not that smelly, amusingly the faeces are colour-coordinated sometimes.

It was a privilege, to be in very close proximity with the fluffies and cuties. It was a great opportunity to know more about the sun bears more than books can offer from the staffs. Throughout the period I was lucky to observed and be there for ‘little miracles’. The moment when Rungus stepped outside of fenced forest enclosure in Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) for the first time, followed by her group mate Natalie, Julaini and Ah Lun. Integration between Bongkud with other sun bears such as Rungus, Natalie and Julaini as well as Fulung. The youngest sun bear, 8 month-old Damai climbing tall trees and got used to sleeping on trees. These little ephemeral joys are so important for the sun bears as well as the centre, because  these are phases that prepare them and nurture their natural skills to survive in the wild by climbing trees, foraging and digging into soil and logs;  a chance for each of them to ‘be a sun bear’.

It was challenging and entertaining making enrichments for the bears. It was challenging by training up muscles I never thought I have by carrying heavy stuffs, unbolting and bolting, carrying bamboos, walking up a long distance around the forest enclosures and so on. It was one of those days I can proudly said “Yes people, I cut tyres.” The staffs and we volunteers made so many enrichments ranging from 2 different swinging tyres, 2 hammocks, swinging log, bamboos stuffed with fruits, a big water basin and more. The entertaining part was where sun bears played with them. It was enjoyable; having Fulung do a Cirque du Soleil stunt while swinging on the rope of the tyre swing. Mamatai is one of our favourite sun bears in the centre. With her cute stumpy figure, she tried to climb on the swinging log and to rest there is just pure adorable, even hopped inside the tyre swing!

 

Volunteers Ann and Amanda bolting the hammock swing.

Volunteers Ann and Amanda bolting the hammock swing.

Dawn and Ann also tried to make another hammock for the bears.

Dawn and Ann also tried to make another hammock for the bears.


Tommy and volunteer Jeo Soon had to replace blunted saw blade 3 times to be able to cut the tyre into half!

Tommy and volunteer Jeo Soon had to replace blunted saw blade 3 times to be able to cut the tyre into half!

Tommy and volunteer Jeo Soon had to replace blunted saw blade 3 times to be able to cut the tyre into half!

I had the fair share of cutting tyre too, with Louise (right).

I had the fair share of cutting tyre too, with Louise (right).

I had the fair share of cutting tyre too, with Louise (right).

A stumpy figure of Mamatai. That won’t stop Mamatai from climbing high swinging tyre! – Photo courtesy of BSBCC

A stumpy figure of Mamatai. That won’t stop Mamatai from climbing high swinging tyre! – Photo courtesy of BSBCC

Fellow volunteers at BSBCC: (left to right) Ann, Thomas, Amanda, Louise, and me :)

Fellow volunteers at BSBCC: (left to right) Steve, Ann, Thomas, Amanda, Louise, and me 🙂

Have a photo together with the other volunteers on my last day – Jeo Soon, me, Amanda and Thomas.

Have a photo together with the other volunteers on my last day – Jeo Soon, me, Amanda and Thomas.

Have a photo together with the other volunteers on my last day – Jeo Soon, me, Amanda and Thomas.

It was a blessing, to meet incredible staffs. Right from Wong, to staffs Gloria, Wai Pak, Dawn, Thye Lim, Lin May, bear keepers David and Beyri, general workers Julian, Azzry and Tommy as well as volunteers who walked in to help the centre. They have been the backbone of the centre; taking responsibilities to care the welfare for the bears, and they have been a great help in guiding me throughout the volunteering period. They made volunteering so much enjoyable rather than a burden. They are dedicated staffs, as well as lovely friends.

It was like a mini travel pocket, getting to know volunteers who came from around the world in one similar aim like mine. Both Steve (UK) and Ann (Belgium) carried young spirits, never dimmed or hesitated in getting their hands down and dirty making hammocks and swinging logs. Amanda Pauli (US) and Thomas (UK) are wonderful people who dedicated their career helping out children, utilising their break by volunteering around.  Lee Jeo Soon (Korea), a to-be vet doctor; does not mind breaking a sweat making enrichments under the hot scorching sun. Louise, a great company to be for everyone and surprisingly enjoyed cutting tyres the most. I had fun with everyone; get to know them more from their respected countries.

Figure 2 from Top (Clockwise): Dawn, Amanda Pauli, Thomas, Louise, Lin May, Thye Lim, Wong, Jeo Soon, Me and Gloria. – Photo Courtesy of BSBCC.

Figure 2 from Top (Clockwise): Dawn, Amanda Pauli, Thomas, Louise, Lin May, Thye Lim, Wong, Jeo Soon, Me and Gloria. – Photo Courtesy of BSBCC.

Figure 2 from Top (Clockwise): Dawn, Amanda Pauli, Thomas, Louise, Lin May, Thye Lim, Wong, Jeo Soon, Me and Gloria. – Photo Courtesy of BSBCC.

The last day:Everyone! Except Wong who left for Singapore and Thye Lim (the photographer)

The last day:Everyone! Except Wong who left for Singapore and Thye Lim (the photographer)

The last day:Everyone! Except Wong who left for Singapore and Thye Lim (the photographer)

 

Until the very last day, I left the centre knowing so much and learnt a lot about how conservation works and needs more work and awareness to come by before opening for public to visit. It is kind of sad to miss out more of the sun bears’ development like Damai and progress of stepping out into the enclosure for the first time, as well as being steps away from being candidates for release. These achievements I will miss, but I will come back to visit to catch up soon.

These respected staffs are dedicated to their work to bring this developed centre a safe haven for the rescued sun bears. Not only for saving their population an endangered species, but a second chance to live. They top that off with tasks creating a global awareness of the little known bears. What they do need aside from funds and donations are the local volunteers. At first I thought it was a privilege and unique to be one of the first locals to volunteer. Now that I think about it, local people should take part by volunteering to not only aware the existence of this species in our beautiful Borneo land, but to acknowledge them, protect them by being against poaching or body parts trade, and be in any way of help to tell, share, spread word. By being hands on and practical to conserve at the centre, locals will be more impacted and realize that one man’s action could do so much to help.

 

RM2.1mil support for Bornean Sun Bear conservation

Saturday March 30, 2013

http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=%2F2013%2F3%2F30%2Fsouthneast%2F12896396&sec=southneast#.UVaa_JPOw-I.facebook

 
BSBCC’s youngest resc ued sun bear: Damai, a seven-month-old cub, is seen chewing off decayed wood to look for termites to eat. She was found in a residential area in Damai in November 2012 by a businessman who found her wandering on his porch. Damai was then sent to the Lok Kawi Zoo before being sent to BSBCC.BSBCC’s youngest resc ued sun bear: Damai, a seven-month-old cub, is seen chewing off decayed wood to look for termites to eat. She was found in a residential area in Damai in November 2012 by a businessman who found her wandering on his porch. Damai was then sent to the Lok Kawi Zoo before being sent to BSBCC.

WITH a distinctive pale horseshoe-shaped imprint on their chests coupled with their cute and cuddly disposition, it is easy to understand why anyone would fall in love with the Malayan sun bears.

Despite the fact that sun bears are a protected species, some unscrupulous people hunt them down for their body parts which are consumed for medicinal purposes while the cubs end up as pets. Over the years, this practice has tragically depleted the sun bear population.

Sun bears (Helarctos malayanus) are the smallest and least known members of the bear family and their population is rapidly diminishing in South-East Asia.

With the support of Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD), the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) in Sepilok, Sabah, has been working hard to right the wrongdoings of mankind. BSBCC has been rescuing sun bears which have been kept as pets and caring for them with the hope of releasing them back into the wild in the future.

BSBCC is a non-profit organisation initiated by the Sabah Forestry Department (SFD), Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) and a non-government organisation, Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP), in 2008 to look after the plight of captive and orphaned sun bears in Sabah and to promote conservation efforts.

In 2012, YSD allocated funding of RM2.1 million for the BSBCC. A major chunk of the funding is being used to renovate an existing bear house and to construct a second bear house where the rescued sun bears will be relocated.

YSD’s sponsorship also includes the construction of a visitor information centre and opening the BSBCC to the public, which would provide financial sustenance to the BSBCC.

YSD governing council member Caroline Christine Russell said the foundation’s sponsorship would help rescued sun bears to recuperate and be rehabilitated in a safe and protected environment.

“When sun bears are kept and treated as pets, they grow into adulthood without learning the necessary skills to survive in the wild. YSD is highly supportive of BSBCC’s mission to rescue captured sun bears and promote sun bear conservation in Borneo. This will halt cruelty to these animals including the killing of sun bears for their supposed medicinal value and keeping their offspring as pets,” she said.

BSBCC chief executive officer Wong Siew Te said the process of catching a sun bear cub involved killing its mother.

“If the law allows sun bears to be kept as pets, it will only fuel demand which would lead to more poaching of sun bears,” he said.

There have also been instances where poachers left cubs to die, after killing their mothers for body parts. The demand for the sun bear’s bile and other parts especially for traditional medicine and even for delicacies is said to be among the reasons for the poaching and illegal trade of the species.

The Malayan sun bear has been classified as “vulnerable” in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red Book Listing of Endangered Species since 2007 due to its dwindling population over the past 30 years.

Sun bears do not breed well in captivity and due to their naturally slow reproductive rate, a female sun bear may only have up to three to four cubs in her lifetime. Thus, excessive hunting or capturing of cubs can easily wipe out the local population.

It is illegal to kill or hunt these bears under the 1997 Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment and those found guilty of rearing or possessing protected species such as the Malayan sun bear could face a mandatory jail term between one month and a year.

The BSBCC is currently home to 28 rescued sun bears.

The latest addition is a four-month old female cub that was found in a housing area in Kota Kinabalu in early November last year.

For more information on what BSBCC does and how the public can help with the sun bear’s conservation efforts, please visithttp://www.bsbcc.org.my.

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.

 
 
 
 

Malaysian Bear Suspected of Dying of Poisoned Fruit Had Rowdy Youth

http://blogs.wsj.com/searealtime/2013/02/22/malaysian-bear-suspected-of-dying-of-poisoned-fruit-had-rowdy-youth/

February 22, 2013, 7:54 PM

By Celine Fernandez

The bear suspected of dying this week after eating poisoned fruit at a zoo in southwest Malaysia had been caught about a dozen years ago after disturbing crops and farmers.

Malacca Zoo and Night Safari
Police suspect that Lala, a sun bear living in a Malaysian zoo, died after eating poisoned fruit.

New details emerged late this week about “Lala,” a sun bear who is believed to have been about 14-to-16 years old at her death. When workers at the Malacca Zoo and Night Safari saw her foaming at the mouth and in convulsions, her mate, Kiki, was hovering over her.

Police have a suspect in the case – an unidentified former owner of another zoo. Police say the man – who is also accused of poisoning a retired race horse at the zoo Sunday – was pursuing a vendetta because he was angry that his zoo had been shut down due to alleged animal negligence and had its animals taken away. Neither Lala nor the race horse – which was being housed at the zoo by a private owner – had been at the other zoo, according to authorities.

Tests are being conducted on samples taken from Lala and the horse to aid in the investigation.

“The sun bear was caught and placed in [the zoo] because it damaged crops and was a threat to the safety of farmers,” Zaaba Zainol Abidin, a deputy director at the Malaysian Department of Wildlife and National Parks, told The Wall Street Journal.

The suspected poisonings happened only a month after worldwide attention focused on the suspected poisoning deaths of 14 pygmy elephants – an endangered species – at a Malaysian forest reserve.

The sun bear – known for a tan “necklace” on its chest – has rapidly declined in population as its habitat has been taken away by developers. But that is where its similarity ends with the pygmy elephant, which can never be legally hunted.

Three wildlife protection laws apply to the sun bear, according to Wong Siew Te, the CEO and founder of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. In West Malaysia and Sabah, the sun bear is a “totally protected” species under the Wildlife Conservation Act of 2010, which applies to all of Malaysia, and the Wildlife Conservation Enactment of 1997, which is enforced only in Sabah. In Sarawak, the sun bear is a “protected” species under the Sarawak Wild Life Protection Ordinance of 1998, but hunters can kill them with a license issued by the Sarawak Forestry Department.

Mr. Wong argues that Lala should be treated as a “totally protected” sun bear due to her death in West Malaysia.

“The penalty should be significant [to anyone found guilty of her suspected poisoning] to deter future offenders,” Mr. Wong told The Wall Street Journal in an email reply to questions.

The penalty can be up to five years imprisonment and a fine.

Meanwhile, in the suspected elephant poisonings, Raymond Alfred, the head of research at the Borneo Conservation Trust, a state-mandated non-governmental organization in Sabah, is calling for a ban on the use of chemical-based pesticides and herbicides near protected forests.

“We suspect the source of the poison could be due to the pesticide or herbicides, which is based on our knowledge of the elephants ranging, sources of food, etcetera,” Mr. Alfred said.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Martin Lugu, who is leading an investigation into the deaths of the elephants, said investigators “hope to wrap it up soon.”

Cops on the trail of animal killers

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2013/2/19/nation/12729177&sec=nation

Tuesday February 19, 2013

By R.S.N. MURALI
[email protected]

 

‘Crime scene’: Malacca Zoo director Azman Ghazali pointing out where the bear was found poisoned and dead.

‘Crime scene’: Malacca Zoo director Azman Ghazali pointing out where the bear was found poisoned and dead.

 

MALACCA: The hunt is on for the killers of a 14-year-old female Malayan Sun Bear and an Arabian stallion at the Malacca Zoo.

Visitors alerted the zoo keepers when they saw a male Sun Bear lying protectively over the still body of its partner at about 5pm on Sunday.

“The keepers rushed to the site and found the animal lifeless,” said zoo veterinarian Dr Zubaidah Kamarudin.

A post-mortem revealed that the bear had eaten a banana laced with toxin.

malacca-zoo-elephants-cages-n5

Jumbo problem: The animal enclosures at Malacca Zoo are set up in a way that allows anyone to gain access into them.

An autopsy is yet to be performed on the 17-year-old horse “Basket” which was found dead by groomer P. Lohan around 7am yesterday.

“We have yet to identify the type of poison used but have lodged a police report,” Dr Zubaidah added.

She also said poison-laced oranges, bananas and sugar canes were found in the enclosures of a chimpanzee and two orang utans, which are believed to have refused to eat them because of the pungent smell. The feed has been sent to the Chemistry Department.

The zoo is not taking any chances. “We are monitoring the condition of the animals round the clock,” added Dr Zubaidah.

State CID deputy chief expressed confidence in catching the culprits soon.

He declined to elaborate but sources said police were looking for two former zoo workers seen at the elephants’ enclosure on Sunday trying to feed the animals.

“They ran off carrying a package when ex-colleagues spotted them,” a source said.

The sources believe the two were linked to private zoo operators.

malacca-zoo-signboard-n5

Clear reminder: A signboard warning visitors not to feed the animals.

It is learnt that the Sun Bear was presented to the Malacca Zoo in 2000 after it was caught in the wilds of Johor.

The owner of the stallion had kept the horse at the zoo and it was not one of the exhibits.

The Malacca Zoo and Night Safari, sited on a 21.22ha zoological park, is the second biggest zoo in the country after Zoo Negara.

It has over 1,200 species of animals made up of 215 different types of birds as well as mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

The major attractions at the zoo include the critically-endangered Sumatran Rhinoceros, Malayan Sun Bear, Malayan Gaur Oxen, Serow and the Malayan Tiger.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam has offered an RM10,000 reward to anyone providing information leading to the arrest of the culprits.

He also asked the zoo management to install CCTVs immediately.

Related Stories:
Perhilitan sends team to probe deaths
Animal activists and conservationists see red

 

 

 

 

animal-tales-malacca-zoo-n1

 

Animal activists and conservationists see red

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2013/2/19/nation/12728505&sec=nation

Tuesday February 19, 2013

By ISABELLE LAI
[email protected]

PETALING JAYA: Animal activists and conservationists want those behind the fatal poisoning of a horse and a Sun Bear at the Malacca Zoo to be caught, prosecuted and punished severely.

Dr Sharmini Paramasivam, of zoo animal welfare group myZOO, said a thorough investigation must be carried out to determine the motive behind the poisoning.

“We must take this very seriously and ensure our animals are not suffering. Placing animals in captivity means taking full responsibility for their well-being and health,” she said.

Zoo Negara deputy director Dr Muhammad Danial Felix described the killing as a “national outrage”.

Condemning the crime, he said the guilty must be harshly punished.

“Maintaining tight security at the zoo, including during the feeding of animals, is extremely important.

“If it is found to be an inside job, the culprit may killed the animals as a way to get noticed,” he said.

Wong Siew Te, founder of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, said the sun bear was a “Totally Protected species” in the peninsula, adding that the maximum penalty for killing such animals under the new Wildlife Conservation Act (2010) was a fine of RM100,000 and a jail term of up to three years.

The Sun Bear is classified as “vulnerable species” in the IUCN Red Book Listing of Threatened Species in 2007.

Wong said its global population had been declining over the past 30 years and if the trend continued, it would join the “Endangered Species” or “Critically” endangered species.

“The punishment for this crime should be significant and widely reported to deter potential offenders and raise awareness, “ he added.

Malacca SPCA chairman Vincent Low described the poisoning as a “dastardly and uncouth” act.

He said the heinous crime could be an inside job or committed by former workers who still had access to the animal enclosures.

Animal Concerns Research and Education Society executive director Louis Ng said the zoo management should take urgent measures to ensure only authorised staff were allowed into enclosures or places where animals were fed.

Wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic South-East Asia’s regional director Dr William Schaedla said that if the poisoning was found to be premeditated and intentional, the culprit must be prosecuted and harshly punished.

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Sun bear, racehorse died of suspected poisoning

http://www.nst.com.my/latest/sun-bear-racehorse-died-of-suspected-poisoning-1.220607

18 February 2013| last updated at 04:12PM

MALACCA: A Malayan sun bear and a racehorse have died at Malacca Zoo, here, as a result of suspected deliberate poisoning.

A vet at the zoo, Dr. Zubaidah Kamarudin, said autopsy results on the sun bear revealed that it had eaten a banana which contained a white powder.

“At around 5pm on Sunday, a visitor told a member of zoo staff that a sun bear was behaving oddly. When the zookeeper went to check on the animal, we found it foaming at the mouth and suffering from seizures,” she said.

Dr. Zubaidah said the sun bear was immediately taken to the zoo’s clinic to attempt to flush out the poison, but unfortunately, it could not be saved.

“The poison used was very strong; it caused severe damage to the sun bear’s digestive system and we were unable to save it,” she said.

The female sun bear, estimated to have been around 14 to 16 years old, had been one of four sun bears under the zoo’s care and had been rescued from the forests of Johor by the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) in 2000 before being sent to Malacca Zoo.

The Malayan sun bear, also known as the honey bear due to its penchant for eating honey, is classified as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a result of the large-scale deforestation that has occurred throughout Southeast Asia over the past three decades, dramatically reducing its habitat.

Dr. Zubaidah added that following the incident, thorough checks were made on all animals and their exhibits.

“During the checks, we found a plastic bag in the chimpanzee exhibit containing a banana, an orange and sugar cane, all with the same white powder. Luckily, no animals had eaten it,” she said.

This morning, a 17-year-old male racehorse had also been found dead in its stall by zoo staff.

The racehorse, named Basket, had been a part of the pony ride exhibit at the zoo for the past three years and had been on loan.

Samples from both animals have been sent to the Chemistry Department to determine the type of poison that had been used.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, who visited Malacca Zoo today, said it was clear that the animals had been intentionally poisoned.

“I’m very saddened by the deaths of these innocent animals. Whoever was responsible for this is cruel and irresponsible.

“I’ve been informed that the sun bear had been fed the poisoned banana prior to its feeding time, so it is possible that a visitor had been behind this,” he said.

Mohd Ali added that in the past, Malacca Zoo had allowed visitors to bring in food to feed the animals.

“However, with immediate enforcement, zoo management have decided that visitors are not allowed to bring outside food to give to the animals and must purchase food supplied by the zoo that has been deemed safe.

“Additionally, I have suggested to zoo management to install closed-circuit television cameras around the zoo to closely monitor activities within the compound,” he said.
Mohd Ali also said a police report had been filed, adding that the state government was offering a RM10,000 reward to those with information that would lead to apprehending the culprit

Read more: Sun bear, racehorse died of suspected poisoning – Latest – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/latest/sun-bear-racehorse-died-of-suspected-poisoning-1.220607#ixzz2LJSIIH3C