On the 7th March 2018, a session with kids at Vision School, Sandakan was conducted by BSBCC's education team where the kids learnt about sun bear's anatomy. They get to learn about special features of sun bears and create their own chestmark patterns. The kids also get to share with their friends their special features if they were a sun bear. It was a fun session and the BSBCC team will be visiting the school again in April. Looking forward to meet these kids again!
One of the teachers, Ms Chris introducing the session to the students
Mdm Sharon conducting an introduction session about sun bear anatomy to the students
An educational event in conjunction to the Environmental Day is organized by Petrosains and PETRONAS in Sabah State Library. Some of the objectives of this event are to instill interest and appreciation, besides promoting the sense of importance of the environmental biodiversity especially to the students, teachers, and community. This event also serves as a good platform for us to stimulate stronger network between the community, relevant government agencies, and NGOs.
One of the BSBCC core values is to increase public awareness and activism on the high standard of animal welfare, as it is such a big part and will hugely impacted on our wildlife, as well as enhancing these important messages and increasing awareness about these crucial battles to protect our special little sun bear (as the numbers are speedily decreasing), forest and our children's future. We were delightfully be invited by HUTAN-KOCP to carried out this outreach educational program from Kampung Sangau, Kinabatangan district from February 26th to 28th, 2018.
Ms. Gloria (Environmental Education Executive) delivery her talk on sun bear.
The students were interested watching videos on sun bear played on the monitor screen at BSBCC booth.
School that benefited by this program are SK. Sangau, SK Suan Lamba and SMK Bukit Garam. There were representatives from Sabah Wildlife Department who were also invited to be participated in this program along with us. In this program, there were a lot of activities, including talks, a video show and exhibition booths. We would liked to give a big thanks to our partners HUTAN-KOCP for inviting BSBCC to give and share the information regarding to the foreseeable dangers which sun bears are facing. We aim to develop the idea and provide the knowledge that meets the needs, to recover healthy, diverse, productive jungle for all of us, protecting and repopulate the remaining rare species now and for our future generation. We would liked to use this opportunity to give thanks for everyone’s limitless support.
Mrs. Risnayati & Mrs. Sharon represented BSBCC for the launching of Pangolin awareness sculpture at Sandakan airport, Sandakan on the 13th February 2018. Organized by Future Alam Borneo and Danau Girang Field Centre, this event was officiated by Datuk Hj Kamarlin Hj Ombi, Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Sabah. The objective of this educational exhibit is to raise public awareness of the critical status of this shy creature in our rainforests, at this high traffic location that is the airport. The pangolin sculpture itself has been painstakingly created by a Sabahan artist, by recycling plastic materials from numerous common place sources. The Sunda pangolin has been upgraded to a totally protected species in Sabah. This giant art pangolin sculpture reminds us to protect and stop hunting this little known species.
A pangolin awareness sculpture at Sandakan Airport, Sandakan, Sabah
Mr. Anton Ngui, Chairman of Future Alam Borneo Society giving a welcoming speech
This event was officiated by Datuk Hj Kamarlin Hj Ombi, Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Sabah.
Dr. Benoit Goossens and Ms. Elisa Panjang sharing about the plight of this Sunda pangolin
BSBCC was invited to do an awareness programme on sun bears in Sandakan Vision School on the February 7th, 2018. Approximately 80 students, aged between seven to nine years old were invited to be involved in this programme and they were all very excited and eager to learn more about sun bears. The programme began with an introduction session by Ms. Gloria, our Environmental Education Executive followed by Mrs. Sharon’s introduction to our sun bear mascot. Our sun bear mascot, Sunny, was present to help the students understand better about physical characteristics of a sun bear. After that Ms. Melynda conducted a "Who Am I?" wildlife guessing game before Mrs. Risnayati played a short video about sun bears. We also set up a display booth at the school. All of the students enjoyed their time in learning about the environment and wildlife species through exhibitions. We hope that they will gain more knowledge on the importance of protecting the environment and our precious wildlife species. Thanks for inviting us!
An education training workshop was conducted on the 15th -18th January 2018 at BSBCC. Ten of our BSBCC staff had participated in the training session, which included psychology and methods of teaching audiences at different levels and backgrounds.
The team was enlightened with all of these new knowledge and ideas, inspired us to think outside the box and learn how to deliver these important messages in an efficient way. we can implement in making education more fun and effective. Next will be planning our education activities for the coming year! BSBCC would like to give a special thanks to the amazing Ms. Adeline Cruz for selflessly sharing her knowledge and experience throughout the 4-day sessions with us.
As a former grantee of the GEF Small Grants Programme, BSBCC was invited to share its project on the two-day GEF SGP Best Practices & Knowledge Fair event held at the Park Royal Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. Today, Dr. Wong presented on BSBCC's environmental education project, which has been funded by the GEF SGP from the year 2014-2016. We are truly grateful for the support provided by GEF SGP in helping BSBCC to raise awareness and educate the public on the plights of sun bears and the important need to conserve the species.
Dr. Wong presenting BSBCC's environmental education project that was funded by GEF SGP.
Welcoming remarks by Lee Shin Shin, National Coordinator of GEF SGP Malaysia.
The sun bear may be the smallest bear species found around the world, but they are not short of protectors, thanks to the Sahabat Beruang Madu (Friends of the Sun Bear) communities now set up in five regions around Malaysia. Part of the Sun Bear Conservation Programme funded by Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV), and partnered by the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (PERHILITAN) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), the Sahabat network has been set up to foster a community sympathetic to issues surrounding conservation of the sun bear and Malaysia‘s other threatened wildlife species. This Program was held on December 12-13th, 2017, with the main objective being to raise public awareness about conservation, for sun bears in particular and other wildlife species in general. MNS collaborates with BSBCC and is tasked with furthering awareness and education within the community in Felda Sahabat Estate, which is one of biggest estates in Malaysia.
Jeremy (BSBCC's Centre Coordinator) presenting BSBCC delivering his talk on sun bear.
This community program also invited Sabah Wildlife Department, who delivered a presentation about protected wildlife species in Sabah and how to handle critical situations when facing wild animals (Human Wildlife Conflict). Another presenter was from Sabah Forestry Department, discussing the importance of forests and why we need to protect and preserve them. Knowledge from information offered in this program will heighten awareness when staff is back within their plantations and forests, and will afford them the advantage of preventing human-wildlife conflicts before they can occur. During this program, a lot of activities were held such as talks, video show, sun bear mascot activity and exhibition booths. Huge thanks to Felda Sahabat management (Sahabat Beruang Madu Wilayah Sahabat) and MNS (Malaysian Nature Society) for inviting us to this program. Hopefully this programme will continue every year. Many thanks for continuous support! Humans are protectors of these defenseless animals, and we hope Friends of the Sun Bear will act as the first line of defense when it comes to wildlife conservation.
Group Photo with the FGV, Felda, SFD, SWD and BSBCC.
Text by Woo Chee Yoong Photos by Woo Chee Yoong, Chiew Lin May & Seng Yen Wah
Everyone is familiar with the phrase, “time flies”, especially in the happy moments which make us wish we could stay a bit longer. However, reality always stands in the way. It is time for me to bid farewell to The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC). I am an undergraduate student, studying the Animal Resource Science and Management Programme, at the University Malaysia Sarawak, UNIMAS. I came to the BSBCC for industry training for a period of 10 weeks. I found out about the BSBCC when I searched for an institution or research centre that focuses on large mammals in Malaysia. When I found out about the existence of sun bears, my interest in such charismatic mammal grew stronger. Moreover, the sun bear is the smallest bear species in the world, and Malaysia provides these bears with an important home. So, I decided to apply for my industry training placement with the BSBCC. I first flew to Sandakan to meet Dr(Hon) Wong Siew Te, the founder of the BSBCC, to seek advice and guidance about my wish to continue my career as a biologist working closely with animals. I was truly impressed with Dr(Hon) Wong’s achievements, but it was his commitment and dedication, despite all the hardship he has encountered in saving sun bears, that inspired me to continue with what I was pursuing.
When I first arrived, I was introduced to my home in Sandakan where the intern students and volunteers are placed, Bjorn Hala. A simple home, but filled with warmth and laughter, with five other members of the BSBCC staff. Furthermore, other colleagues sometimes joined us in the house for special occasions, “Bjorn Hala is a family”. I started my first working day by being introduced to my buddy, Azzry. Here, I must express my gratitude to my buddy. He guided me a lot through the husbandry jobs of a sun bear keeper. He is fun to work with and always tried to entertain us all with his jokes. Basically, every day, we washed the cages every morning to ensure the bears have a comfortable space to sleep. We prepared porridge with green bean and pumpkin, fruits like banana, papaya, watermelon, honeydew and snakefruit, and vegetables like sweet potato, corn, sugar cane and coconut. We fed the bears inside the cages and outside in forest enclosure, in order to encourage their forest instincts. We created many different kinds of enrichment for the bears, such as collecting banana leaves, dry leaves and termite nests. Examples of food enrichments include the Stick Paradox, Hamburger, Firehose Pocket, Aussie Ball and others. The Olivier Tower, which we built for Chin, was very hard work for me, Azzry, and a bunch of our other teammates. However, the best enrichment of all is another bear. This is why we try to integrate the bears with each other, and so they can learn survival skills from each other. Also, I am glad that the BSBCC gave me the opportunity to be involved with the medical check-up for the bears.
I not only had the chance to work in Bear House, but to also experience the outreach programme. The programme aims to educate communities about sun bears, especially younger communities. Thus, both programmes that I participated in were held at primary schools. We hope the conservation efforts to help the sun bear will inspire the younger generation.
At the BSBCC, the most important thing I learnt was that every bear has its own attitude, just like a human. Some are easy to deal with, but some are not. In fact, this became the most amazing thing I experienced in these 10 weeks. The emotion shared between me and the bear’s was priceless, and words cannot describe this feeling and the relationship. You have to come and experience it yourselves.
Sadly, a lot of people abuse this special relationship and exploit Sun Bear in a horrible way. Hereby, I urge you all, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE - Sun bears deserve a better life and should be treated just like a human. They belong to the forest, not inside a small cage where they are forced to follow their owner’s instruction. They need freedom, just like we do. Spread the word, spread the love. Return the sun bear to the wild and stop poaching. Nonetheless, I wish to say a huge thank you to the BSBCC for this unforgettable journey. I have wished that the spirit of Bear Care Team will always remain. You have all done a big favour to the sun bears. Stay strong to all the bears. Au revoir.
On November 20th-24th, of 2017, BSBCC was invited by IJM Plantations Berhad to the Environmental Outreach program (Wildlife Awareness) in their two-region area. It took about 4 and a half hours to arrive at the Sugut regions estate by car. The main purpose of this program is to create awareness about our protected species and also share information and knowledge about sun bears. The BSBCC team prepared an exhibition booth to help the audience understand better about the programme. The audience comprise IJM Plantations estate Executives and staff in two regional estates in Sabah - Sugut regions (8 estates) and Labuk regions (3 estates). At the same time, we also held an awareness programme with the Humana Schools (A school for children of foreign plantation workers in IJM estates). A lot of activities were held during the programme, including talks, video show, sun bear mascot activities and a visit to exhibition booths. Besides BSBCC, our partners, the Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU), were also invited to this program. Huge thanks to IJM Plantations Berhad for inviting us as well as for the continuous support given! We were really glad to see people learning more about Mother Nature.
Sungai Sabang estate staff visiting by BSBCC and WRU (Wildlife Rescue Unit).
Jeremy explaining sun bear's characteristics to students.