GHP February 2017

34 GHP / February 2017 , We are a non-profit organisation that helps the Sabah Wildlife Department to take care of the rescued captive sun bears that are being kelp by the public illegally. I founded BSBCC in 2008 with four aims: • To provide care of the rescued pet sun bears, • To rehabilitate the rescued sun bears; • To conduct studies on both captive and wild sun bears and; • To increase awareness of sun bears locally and internationally. • These aims work to ensure the absolute right of every bear to live in the forest. I believe that the centre will change the faith of the sun bear in Sabah, even better when all of Southeast Asia know how special this bear species is. In addition, the centre is helping the government in dealing with all the conservation problems that the sun bear has faced. There are 42 rescued sun bears in the centre today. BSBCC has rescued 53 bears in total since it started its operation in 2008. The centre was established to conserve the sun bear through a holistic approach AH160029 A New Dawn for the Bornean Sun Bear Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre or BSBCC is the centre to conserve Bornean Sun Bear in Sabah, Malaysia Borneo though a holistic approach that incorporate improving animal welfare of rescued sun bears, conservation education, research and rehabilitation. Following their receipt of the Best Centre for Animal Conservation award, the Dr (Hon) Wong SiewTe, D.J.N. tells us more about the centre’s vital work. that incorporates animal welfare, education, research and rehabilitation. During the establishment, I saw many urgent issues faced by the sun bears: illegal captive and pet keeping of sun bears, poaching, lack of awareness, research and conservation works. It is especially urgent, since that the situation of the captive bears problem getting worse and no one willing to help them. Therefore, as a biologist who studied in this field for the past 10 years, I feel an obligation to set up a centre such as BSBCC to conserve sun bear through a holistic approach. The centre’s mission and the role of research The centre’s mission is to conserve the sun bear species and prevent their extinction in this part of the world. The role of research gives us the information on the biology and ecology of the sun bears. In addition, this data is extremely important in wildlife management and wildlife conservation decision making. These decisions can further help us conserve sun bears and ensure their survival. Our visitor centre BSBCC’s centre is located in Sepilok-Kabili Forest Reserve in Malaysian Borneo. The centre comprises of three areas dedicated to bears, visitors and staff. The bears’ area comprises of two bear houses, one quarantine house and ten forest enclosures. We currently house 42 bears and have a maximum capacity of 40. The visitors’ area consists of a platform, boardwalk, media centre, shop and recreational area. Visitors can view the bears from the observation platform from two forest enclosures. We provide educational placards in multiple languages to extend the centre’s reach to our visitors. Our staff We currently have 26 full time staff, with numerous volunteers. We also provide a volunteer programme which gives valuable experience in animal husbandry. We share veterinary doctors with the Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre. Our departments are split into animal husbandry, education, sales and reception, research and rehabilitation, and administration. Most of our staff are l trained in a field relating to animal husbandry, veterinary and wildlife science and biodiversity. Our partners We are a joint project with Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD), LEAP (Land Empowerment Animals People) and Sabah Forestry Department (SFD). SWD is the authority for wildlife. They are the law enforcement agency in Sabah and are responsible for rescuing and relocating captive bears to the centre, and to confiscate illegal pet bears. They provide the land, the original bear house and assist with on-going veterinary care. LEAP helps to manage our fundraising and finances. SFD is responsible for managing the forest reserves and have dedicated five acres of land to the project so far. Bear rescue and rehabilitation When a vulnerable or illegal bear is reported to the local authorities or ourselves we work with Sabah Wildlife Department to rescue the bear and relocate it to our centre. Once at our centre, bears are given a thorough health check by veterinary scientist and individual characteristics are recorded. Bears are then held in quarantine for 30 days to prevent the risk of disease. Bears are then moved to the bear house when they familiarise themselves with the sight, sounds and smell of other bears. Before being introduced to the forest enclosure, bears are introduced to a training pen to learn to avoid electric fences. Depending on their age and personality, bears will be introduced physically to other bears either in the bear houses