Text by Siew Te Wong
This is another good story of "do what you do best to help sun bear and BSBCC".
Joyce Malmo was a volunteer project manager with the Raleigh International working with BSBCC back in August 2010. She felt very privileged to be working at BSBCC and experiencing the sun bears. Joyce decided to do more subsequently to her volunteering work with us. She decided to write a children book about sun bear and other wildlife and their habitat across the world.
The book, ANIMALS - Stories From Across the World is an environmental education storybook for children between 6 – 10 years. It’s a storybook meant for children, teachers, parents, guardians and children. The book contains 7 animal stories from various animals across the world including activities and educational material that can be used at home or in the classroom. This book is currently available for sale as an "eBook" as starter to generate enough fund to publish in paper format. Joyce is very kind to donate 10% of the sale to BSBCC for our education activities. You can purchase the book online at http://www.story4environment.org/.
The following is what Joyce wrote about the chapter on Susie the sun bear in her book:
Sun bears are the smallest species of bears in the world and are found in the tropical rainforests throughout Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, the number of sun bears are declining. This is mainly as a result of deforestation and poaching.
The story about Susie came about after volunteering at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center (BSBCC) through Raleigh (UK youth development charity) last year.
Susie is a real sun bear. She was the first sun bear that I saw at the BSBCC – actually, the first sun bear that I ever saw. Even though parts of the story about Susie is fiction, it is true that she grew up in the rainforest near Tawau and was kept as a pet, before she was rescued by the BSBCC in Sepilok, Sabah in Malaysia.
The story about Susie the little sun bear cub and how she lost her mum and ended up at the Sun Bear Center is the saddest story in the animal storybook. I wanted it to be as close as possible to what unfortunately does happen in reality to many sun bears. Yet the story gives hope by introducing one to the Borneon Sun Bear Conservation Center - founded in 2008 by Mr. Siew Te Wong – it is safe to say that he is the leading expert on sun bears.
The Center was set up with the support and help of Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD), the Sabah Forestry Department (SFD) and a charity called Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP).
So, this is where Susie lives, together with more than 20 other rescued bears. Most of them were brought to the Center as orphans or as victims of the pet trade.
Spending about 6 weeks at the Center in Borneo working as a volunteer through Raleigh in 2010, I could see a true dedication by the staff, not only for the conservation of the sun bears, but the environment in general.
However, the BSBCC is still under construction. It aims to conserve sun bears through a combination of education, rehabilitation, research, and improvement of the welfare of captive orphaned sun bears.
Currently, the Center is not open to the public. At the moment, they will start working on the construction of a viewing platform for visitors, so the idea is to open it in order to educate the public.
Apart from being incredible fascinating animals (which we know very little about), the sad story of the sun bears is one that opens up the door to many different environmental issues, which can can be introduced into the classroom by simply telling the story about Susie the sun bear from Tawau.
For more information about the BSBCC, their work and the sun bears, have a look at their website/blog: http://www.bsbcc.org.my/
Thank you Joyce! Your work is important to us and the sun bears.
Please help us spread the words about this book and support Joyce and BSBCC!