20 years ago in 1998 I came to Sabah alone from Penang to embark the sun bear study for my Master degree in Danum Valley; many people called that project ambitious and impossible. I did it.
10 years ago in 2008, my field assistant Wai Pak and me came to Sepilok, Sandakan, Sabah to establish the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC); many people called this project ambitious and impossible. We did it!
And now in 2018, 26 BSBCC’s staffs, 44 rescued sun bears at BSBCC, and me, are marching into the next 10 years of our life-long mission to conserve sun bears in Sabah. We are not sure what other people going to call it. However, we are ready to face all the challenges on our paths, just like what we did 10 or 20 years ago.
BSBCC has comes a long way from it started 10 years ago with 2 staff and 7 rescued sun bears. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your supports and helps, especially Sabah State Government, Sabah Wildlife Department, Sabah Forestry Department, LEAP, and generous funding agencies like Sime Darby Foundation, to make this project a success. Without all of your helping hands, we will not come this far.
Over the past 10 years, BSBCC has been working hand on hand with Sabah Wildlife Department and Wildlife Rescue Unit to take care of the rescued sun bears in Sabah. We have focused our works on four objectives: animal welfare, education, research and rehabilitation and passed with flying colours reflected by various awards we received. Last year, we expanded our objectives to incorporate ecotourism, community conservation, anti-poaching and captive breeding of sun bears. All of these eight objectives will be the focus for the coming 10 years, starting from today!
The next 10 years will be a very crucial period for all wildlife conservation works in Malaysia as the country has experiencing rapid transition: wildlife habitat and wildlife population are shrinking as human population expanding: from 10 million 50 years ago in 1968, to today’s 32 million. Several spectacular wildlife in this country has either extinct or critically endangered. Wildlife poaching and wildlife parts trading emerges as the biggest threats to the survival of the remaining wildlife populations, sun bear included, as demand increases. We need to work on all of these eight areas simultaneously, if we were to conserve sun bear and many other endangered and protected wildlife species in this country.
The tasks for us to deliver good results for the next 10 years are challenging. We cannot do it without your helps and involvements. Local communities, general public, civil societies, stakeholders, biologists, academics, NGOs, funding agencies and government agencies, all have important roles and should do what they do best to conserve sun bears and other natural resources in this country. We need your continuous helps and involvements more than ever because if we failed, the results would be devastating!
I thank you from the bottom of my heart! Wishing you all the best in this New Year! May all beings be happy, joyful, well, be safe & at peace!
Dr (Hon) Wong Siew Te, D.J.N.
C.E.O. and Founder,
Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre
Cell: 016-555 1256