By Anna Cocker (Sun Bear Conservation Trust)
After completing the Great North Run on 20th September 2009 to raise money for sun bears, I have collected the last of the sponsor money, raising a total of £136.00. The Great North Run is a half marathon (13.1 miles) which is held annually in the city of Newcastle, England every September. It is the world’s second most popular half marathon road running event consisting of elite athletes, athletes running for fun and people taking part for charity. Despite it being a hot day I kept going and going as I was thinking about the sun bears in Sepilok and I made it to the finish line in 2 hours 10 minutes. It was my first time participating in the Great North Run and I was taken back with the immense volume of 54,000 people taking part as well as being completely overwhelmed by the phenomenal atmosphere and support from the crowds. I’m looking forward to running it again in the near future. Thanks everyone for all your help and support!
Anna Cocker is by far the biggest fan of sun bear. We first met during the 2006 International Conference on Bear Research and Management in Japan. With no training or background on bear research and management, Anna attended the conference simply because she had a very strong interest on bears. Her agenda during the meeting was simple: She would like to meet bear biologists to learn more about bears and also seek opportunities to work them.
Out of hundreds of bear biologists around the world who attended the conference, Anna found me. At that time, I was conducting a 3- year field study on sun bear in Borneo. This is a golden opportunity to get involve with bear research and conservation work that she has been looking for. After a year of emailing between her and me, Anna finally landed in Borneo and spent the next several months in the tropical rainforest helping me collecting field data, tracking wild sun bears, and taking care captive sun bears in Sepilok (before BSBCC was established), including Cerah, the little sun bear featured in BEARTREK the movie.
As the construction of Phase 1 (Bear House 1 and 4 forest enclosures) getting closer and closer to completion, WE ARE GETTING CLOSER AND CLOSER to the date where we anticipated so much and so long. The new bear house is almost done by now (see photos below). After this weeklong Chinese New Year holiday, the construction of the fences will began, follow by the installation of electric (hot) wires to prevent bears from climbing up and escape. Then, on April 5th, is the date that we waited for so long- the moving of the bears to the new bear house and enclosure. This date will be the first achievement of all the hard works and supports we received from so many people across the world.
We hope BSBCC can be a model for conservation project where government agencies, NGOs, biologists, local and international communities all working very hard together regardless of nationality, races, sexes, social status, incomes, professions, etc., to save an endangered species in this country. We are all here working together because we want to make a difference for the future of sun bear, other precious wildlife, wildlife habitat, humanity, and finally to the mother Earth!
Thank you all of you for your support and helps!
Here is a new sun bear video blog by Audrey and Howard
papa bear part 3
Soon the rescued sun bears will be in their new home. Next step - save the wild sun bears from extinction. Siew Te Wong and Dr. Audrey Low discuss the upcoming relocation. Exciting times. The culmination of years of work for Wong and so many others. Hope!
BSBCC is happy to report that a donation of RM1,200 (USD 350) has just been received from Tabin Wildlife Holidays Sdn Bhd, a local ecotourism company which runs the Tabin Wildlife Resort in southeast Sabah. This resort is located on the edge of Sabah’s largest wildlife reserve, the 1,200 sq km Tabin Wildlife Reserve, home of Bornean pygmy elephants, clouded leopards and yes, sun bears.
The money was raised through a donation of RM100 being made for each 3 day-2 night Tabin tour programme purchased between October and December 2009. On top of that, each buyer received a sun bear plush toy in return for their good deed. The initiative was advertised by Tourism Malaysia, in the local newspapers, in Tabin Wildlife Holiday’s newsletter and in an attractive poster, all helping to raise awareness of sun bears and their conservation.
This is a great example of a local company stepping up to support the conservation of wildlife in Sabah and we hope that other companies will follow suit.
Thank you Tabin Wildlife Holidays!
Back in April 20th 2009, I received an email from Dr. Audrey Low, a Malaysian lecturer and educator based in Australia. Like many others who contacted me out of the blue, she had been following my blog about the works we done in BSBCC for some time. From her sincere email, she offered her help as a Borneo specialist, anthropologist, and nature lover, etc., anything that I can think of, as long as she can help. She also mentioned her Australian hubby, Howard Jackson, is a filmmaker who also teaches film production in university.
“Uhmmm…, filmmaker.. Borneo specialist…sun bear.. the least known bear in the world… “
It did not take a long time to figure out what they can help me and the sun bear.
Remember in my old blog about how can you help us? I mentioned: “do what you do best to help us!” Among a long list of things where people can do to help, “...if you are a film maker, make a film about sun bear and help us tell the world about their stories and plights"
So, after almost a year of emailing, and skyping between north and south hemisphere, Audrey and Howard will be coming to Sabah on April to help us produce a video about sun bear and our work at BSBCC to help sun bears.
You can read more about Howard and Audrey in their blogs at:
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/-GTNNy9F9G4" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/RN06U8AlhH0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Thank you Audrey and Howard, BSBCC welcome you and thank you for your help!
We all (including the sun bears) are looking foward to meet you!