GHP February 2017

A New Dawn for the Bornean Sun Bear g K Name: Dr (Hon) Wong Siew Te, D.J.N. - C.E.O. and Founder Email: [email protected] Web Address: Telephone: 016 555 1256 or in the forest enclosure. Every step of the way, staff monitor the bear’s welfare and quickly respond to any difficulties. Staff encourage natural behaviour such as tree climbing, nest building and foraging using enrichment activities. Staff identify potential release candidates and work hard to encourage their independence and to closely monitor their performance. Collaboration Our centre is all about collaboration. First, there are three partners collaborated to establish BSBCC which is Sabah Wildlife Department, Sabah Wildlife Department, and LEAP, a local NGO. Second, we collaborate with many of NGOs, universities, government agencies, corporates and individuals to conduct our animal rescues, education research and rehabilitation. There is a long list of partners and organisations whom we work with. The journey The journey so far has been very long indeed. I am working on a book to tell the journey of the establishment of the centre. However, in short it sounds something like this: In 1998 I first came to Sabah to study the ecology of wild sun bears’. I then discovered there are many sun bears were kept illegally as pets or exploited to attract visitors in Crocodile Farms, Mini Zoos, and so on. In 2004 I did a survey of captive sun bears across Malaysia and found the situation was really bad. No NGO or government agencies were willing to do anything to improve the situation. The idea of establishing a sun bear conservation centre therefore began at that point. After four years of planning and preparing, I finally founded the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in 2008 by taking in over a rundown bear house with 7 bears and 2 fulltime staff. The next tusk was to raise sufficient funds to build the bear houses and forest enclosures, visitor centre and office building, observation platforms, boardwalk and aerial walkway. In 2014, the construction of the centre was mostly completed and we open the centre to the public and to do more education work. Last year, the construction of the second observation platform completed. To date, BSBCC is visited by more than 170,000 visitors, rescued 53 captive sun bears, received 2400 volunteers, and has 26 fulltime staff. We have fulfilled the four pillars that we committed to do over the past 9 years and will continue to do so. The centre’s plans and priorities for the future Over the past 9 years, the centre has focus the work on the establishment and work on the four pillars namely animal welfare, education, research and rehabilitation. This year we introduced an additional four pillars to conserve the sun bears for the next 10 years. These pillars are ecotourism, community conservation, anti- poaching, and captive breeding. We will continue working on the existing four areas, and slowly incorporate the new pillars into our work task. We would like to make BSBCC a model conservation centre in this region to conserve the local wildlife species. The model would be a local NGO, led by qualified personal with passion and knowledge, work hand on hand with government agencies, local stake holders, business and general public, to conserve the endangered species together,