We have arrived at a pivotal moment for sun bear conservation in Borneo: the completion of Phase 1 of the Borneon Sun Bear Conservation Centre. After more than two years of dreaming and hard work by many of us around the world, the bears are at this very moment being moved http://www.bsbcc.org.my/bear-talk-blog/three-bears-moved-9-to-go to their new home with forest enclosures within the virgin jungle reserve of Sepilok. For most of these bears, it will be their first "home-coming" into the forest since their captivity into the pet trade at infancy.
In November 2008, we raised RM1.3 million (approx. USD400,000) at the Bear Necessities fundraiser in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, through private sector, philanthropic and government funding. This was the cost of construction for Phase 1. Construction began in early 2009 and the attached annual report documents the work throughout the year.
We are now raising funds for Phase 2 which requires RM1,000,000 (approx. USD300,000). Please find attached conceptual perspectives of the visitor/education centre and observation deck/gallery, which are the Phase 2 components that will enable us to open to public and generate revenue to help the centre towards self-sustainability.
The beauty of this project has been the collaboration between government, NGO, industry, scientists, zoos, the philanthropic community and volunteers-- no one group could have achieved alone what we have achieved together. The government matched one-to-one the funds we raised for Phase 1. In a recent meeting with government leadership, I received the pledge and assurance that they will match us one-to-one for Phase 2!
I am writing to call on that spirit of collaboration and ask if you will join us on this journey to freedom for the sun bears. Once they are in the centre they will be studied and prepared for eventual release, where appropriate and ready, into safe, wild areas. Phase 2 is essential for us to transition away from donor-funded operations and bring in revenue that will be ploughed back into the running of the centre. We need to raise RM500,000 (approx. USD150,000) and the government one-to-one match will bring us to the total need for Phase 2. If you wish to see the proposal and budget for this, I will be glad to email it to you.
Help us make this dream happen. Take a moment and watch this video which will show you why the bears need a safe space and a safe future -- the closing images will give you a sense of what the centre will offer the bears.
Anuual report of BSBCC is available at http://www.leapspiral.org/pdf/BSBCC_Report09.pdf
Please let us know if you would like to make a gift, and know that it will be matched one-to-one by the State Government of Sabah.
For the sun bears,
Founding President and Executive Director of LEAP
Director of BSBCC