The two-month-old sun bear cub was found lifeless and alone in a forest reserve in Pinangah, in Sabah. The forest workers who discovered her called the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD), an officer of which drove the little bear to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) in Sandakan. There, the cub, named Wawa by the officer, is now bouncing back, thanks to round-the-clock care.
Wawa is the 48th rescued sun bear to have arrived at the center, which was founded in Sabah in 2008 with the aim of providing care and rehabilitation programs for bears rescued from poachers and illegal wildlife traffickers. The center also provides a home for orphaned cubs like Wawa as well as for older captive bears that cannot be released back into the wild. The non-profit sports well-equipped facilities and has built spacious enclosures with plenty of leafy roaming grounds for the vivacious bears in its care.
Wawa, too, is now in the best of hands at the center. Despite being weak and dehydrated when she arrived, the little bear proved herself a real fighter in a welcome sign that the newborn cub was made of stern stuff and would pull through. “[A]lthough she was exhausted from the six hour drive (needed to take her to the center), she was feisty enough to bark at our staff,” noted BSBCC’s CEO Wong Siew Te. “BSBCC is taking up the challenge to raise this bear and to teach her all that she needs to know before she returns to her natural habitat as an adult,” he added.
Wawa’s mother was likely captured or killed by poachers who may have sold her on the illegal wildlife market. The body parts of sun bears are prized around much of the region in traditional Chinese medicine for their allegedly curative properties, albeit there is zero scientific evidence for any of the claims. “There are no medicinal values of consuming sun bear parts,” SWD’s director William Baya stressed.
Sun bears are protected by law in Sabah under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997, with offenders facing the prospect of up to five years in prison and/or a maximum fine of RM50,000. Sadly, however, that has not stopped some opportunistic locals and regular poachers alike from continuing to try and snare or shoot bears in the state’s forests.
“Our department would like to issue a stern warning to those who continue to poach sun bears and other protected wildlife species.” Baya said.“We will take action against those who are found to be involved in such activities.”
Berita Wilayah, 23 March 2016
SANDAKAN, 23 Mac (Bernama) -- 'Wawa' yang ditemui keseorangan di kawasan hutan simpan di Pinangah dalam daerah Telupid pada 11 Mac lalu kini mempunyai rumah baharu di Pusat Pusat Pemuliharaan Beruang Madu Borneo (BSBCC) di sini.
Anak beruang madu betina ini yang berumur dua bulan dibawa ke pusat itu Jumaat lalu dan kini dikuarantin dan dilapor bertambah baik kesihatannya.
Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif BSBCC, Wong Siew Te berkata anak beruang itu pada mulanya ditemui oleh pekerja hutan.
"Wawa masih lemah tapi dapat menyesuaikan diri dengan keadaan sekitar," katanya.
Beliau berkata tidak mungkin ibu Wawa meninggalkannya yang tidak diketahui apa yang berlaku kepada ibunya.
BSBCC akan membesarkan Wawa sebelum ia dikembalikan ke dalam hutan apabila besar, katanya.
Wawa merupakan beruang madu yang ke-48 yang ditempatkan di BSBCC.
The Sundaily, 23rd March 2016
SANDAKAN: Found alone in a forest reserve in Pinangah, within the Telupid district, a female sun bear cub believed to be about two months old is now settling into her new home at Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) here.
Named "Wawa" by the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) officer who drove her to the centre last Friday, the cub is currently under quarantine and is reported to be improving in terms of her health.
The cub was found lifeless on March 11 by forest workers. said BSBCC chief executive officer Wong Siew Te in a joint statement from SWD today.
Wawa is the 48th rescued sun bear to have arrived at the centre.
Describing the fact that Wawa was found alone as worrying, SWD director William Baya said: "Orphans are rescued and sent to BSBCC from time to time, indicating that their mother may have been killed for their parts as part of an illegal trade business.
"There are no medicinal values of consuming Sun bear parts."
He said they would take action against those who continue to poach sun bears and other protected wildlife species.
Offenders may face penalty of up to five years' jail term or a maximum of RM50,000 fine, or both, he added. — Bernama
SANDAKAN: A young female sun bear was rescued from a forest reserve in Pinangah, Telupid here.
The bear, found weak and almost lifeless, is now recuperating well at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sepilok here.
Named “Wawa” by the Sabah Wildlife Department officer who drove her to the centre last Friday, the cub is currently under quarantine and is said to be improving in terms of her health.
BSBCC Chief Executive Officer Wong Siew Te said the cub was found on March 11 by workers conducting forest monitoring.
They subsequently took the cub to an office operated under the Forest Management Unit (FMU) 16 before it was surrendered to the department that later sent the bear to the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park near Kota Kinabalu the following day.
“Based on details given to us, Wawa appeared to be weak when she was found. Those who brought her to safety decided it would be best to only give her some water to drink.
“After several days, she arrived at BSBCC and although she was exhausted from the six hour drive, she was feisty enough to bark at our staff.
“Wawa is still weak and dehydrated but she is adapting well. We have been giving her constant care and we hope that she will become stronger in the days to come,” Wong said.
He added that it was very unlikely for a sun bear to abandon her cub and that it was not known what had happened to Wawa’s mother.
“BSBCC is taking up the challenge to raise this bear and to teach her all that she needs to know before she returns to her natural habitat as an adult,” he said adding that this was the 48th rescued sun bear to have arrived at the centre. He reiterated that it is an offence under the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 to hunt or to keep sun bears.
SANDAKAN, March 23 (Bernama) -- Found alone in a forest reserve in Pinangah within the Telupid district, a female sun bear cub believed to be about two months old is now settling into her new home at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC), here.
Named "Wawa" by the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) officer who drove her to the centre last Friday, the cub is currently under quarantine and is reported to be improving in terms of her health.
BSBCC chief executive officer, Wong Siew Te said the cub was found lifeless on March 11 by forest workers.
He said the workers took the cub to the office of the Forest Management Unit (FMU) 16, where she spent the night before being surrendered to SWD which then took her to the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park near Kota Kinabalu the following day.
"Based on details given to us, Wawa appeared to be weak when she was found and those who brought her to safety decided it would be best to only give her some water to drink.
"After several days, she arrived at BSBCC and although she was exhausted from the long six hour drive, she was feisty enough to bark at our staff.
"Wawa is still weak and dehydrated but she is adapting well. We have been giving her constant care and we hope that she will become stronger in the days to come," he said in a joint statement from SWD and BSBCC, Wednesday.
He added that it was very unlikely for a sun bear to abandon her cub and that it was not known what had happened to Wawa's mother.
"BSBCC is taking up the challenge to raise this bear and to teach her all that she needs to know before she returns to her natural habitat as an adult," he said, adding, Wawa was the 48th rescued sun bear to have arrived at the centre.
It is an offence under the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment to hunt or keep sun bears.
Meanwhile, SWD director William Baya said while he was glad that Wawa had made it safely to BSBCC, the fact that she was found alone was worrying.
"Orphans are rescued and sent to BSBCC from time to time, indicating that their mother may have been killed for their parts as part of an illegal trade business.
"There are no medicinal values of consuming Sun bear parts. Our department would like to issue a stern warning to those who continue to poach sun bears and other protected wildlife species.
"We will take action against those who are found to be involved in such activities. Offenders may face penalty of up to five years' jail term or a maximum of RM50,000 fine, or both," he said.
The cost of caring for Sun Bears that end up at BSBCC is huge and the centre is appealing for public support through donations or by adopting the animals.
Text by Sabine Bresser
Photos by Sabine Bresser & Chiew Lin May
We were informed by the Sabah Wildlife Department that, on March 11th, 2016 a four months old tiny sun bear cub was spotted in Forest Management Unit (FMU) 16, Pinangah, Telupid District. The cub was caught and brought to the main offices of the unit where it stayed overnight, appearing rather weak and therefore only given water until it was surrendered to the SWD the following day.
The cub was directly sent to the Lok Kawi Wildlife Zoo before being sent to BSBCC on the March 18th. The sun bear cub is a female and was given the name “Wawa” (Rescue Sun Bear No. 48) by the SWD official who drove the bear to Sepilok
Upon Wawa’s arrival BSBCC staff took a quick look at the cub to check its condition; and although Wawa was very likely afraid and exhausted after her 6 hours drive from Kota Kinabalu, she was feisty enough to bark at them – not once but three times. Wawa was quickly moved into the quarantine for it to rest and settle in. She is appearing weak and dehydrated.
We will never know what happened to Wawa mother but we do know that mother bear is unlikely to abandon their cub easily and so the BSBCC will take up the challenge to raise the little bear and teach it all it needs to know for a return to her natural habit once she is an adult sun bear.
The BSBCC would like to emphasize the fact, that keeping sun bears as pets is illegal, hunting sun bears is also illegal. Sun bears are important to the Malayan forests and wildlife, we should all treat them as the treasure they are.
The Awareness to Action workshop organized by Releigh International in collaboration with LEAP, BSBCC and Wild and Stoked Productions was held on the 11th - 13th March 2016. The workshop was conducted at the Paganakan Dii
Tropical Retreat and Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC), Sandakan.
One of the main aims of the workshop was to provide young people with perspective skills in going from awareness to action in becoming active global citizens. The 3-day workshop was participated by students from 3 local schools in Sandakan which were SM St. Mary’s, SM St. Micheal and SMK Muhibbah.
On the first day of the workshop, the students were gathered at the Paganakan Dii Tropical Retreat. Before arriving, the students had the opportunity to tour around the WWF-Eco school, SMK Muhibbah, where the school representatives explained about eco-friendly practices implemented at their school. Upon arrival at the Paganakan Dii, the students checked into their dorms and get themselves prepared for their first activity. After an ice-breaking activity called “the name game” was conducted, Raleigh International’s Natural Resources Programme Advisor, Don Gordon conducted a session about sustainable development goals, local and global responses to climate change and the threats to Sabah’s biodiversity. The session also mentions about initiatives that support biodiversity conservation and sustainable lifestyles throughout the world.
During the 3-day workshop, the students
learned about environmental issues at the local, national and international levels, and discussed on how to solve these problems through eco-friendly practices at home and at their schools. During the session conducted by LEAP and the students were exposed about environmental issues that are threatening wildlife in Sabah. The session also discussed about efforts done by local and international organizations in helping to solve these issues. The finale session was about seeing conservation in action, where students visited BSBCC and Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. We hope this workshop has given an impact among these students to move from awareness of environmental issues to taking action sustainable practices towards a better environment.
Text and Photos by Shannon Samuel
I am a Zoology student from Western Sydney University in Sydney Australia, ever since I was a kid I have wanted to make a difference to the life of everyone, my love has always been the love of animals, a good friend of mine reminded me when I got down that I was the ‘voice for the voiceless’, animals have no voice when their home or family is getting destroyed they can’t yell and scream and say stop. If they can’t who can, my aim is to make the lives of many magnificent animals better in particular the lives of these beautiful sun bears happier.
Previously I had volunteered in Borneo at the Sepilok Orang-utan centre however after visiting the BSBCC multiple times I was adamant to come back and volunteer with the Bears. I spent two weeks in Borneo at the BSBCC working with these amazing creatures.
The duties and activities ranged from pouring porridge to cleaning the enclosures to doing education, and enrichment. There were many exciting and wonderful adventures to be had. I loved the enrichment time after lunch in the afternoon, I found it fun to think up ideas to challenge the bears. I loved that it challenged me to think of enrichment that would take the bears a while to destroy. I loved the hands on creating that it involved. It was so much fun to give the bears the enrichment after giving them their dinner, I could have stayed and watched them for hours.
I had the wonderful experience to involved during the second week of the program in some conservation education, this is what I love, I hope that one day I can be doing conservation education and research as a career, these are the things that I have trained for my whole life. It would excite me to able to talk to the visitors of the BSBCC and encourage them to make donations or sponsorships as well as shed some light into the conservation of the Bornean Sun Bear, it was a wonderful experience to be able to complete in a place I love so much.
I loved the two weeks that I spent volunteering in the BSBCC so much, it is a life changing and a once in a life time experience, to have the insight into the world of bears is something astonishing. I have made so many new and grand friends on this experience and it is one of the many reasons why I want to come back many times in the future.
Text and Photos by Chiew Lin May
Our one year old, female sun bear cub Kala is growing up! Kala was bought by someone on Kalabakan-Sapulut Road near Maliau Basin with the intention of saving the cub they then surrendered her to the Sabah Wildlife Department’s Wildlife Rescue Unit. She had never even been given the chance to experience life as a wild bear - poached from the wild as a cub after her mother was killed; this horrific life was all she had ever known.
When she first arrived at BSBCC, Kala was emaciated, dehydrated and malnourished. Back then her weight was just 3kg and she was very thin.
We are very glad that Kala health is now in a stable condition. She has been relying on FIDO Premium Milk Powder for her growth. A huge thanks to our most generous and certainly loveliest supporters from TTL Distributors Sdn Bhd who have given our orphaned sun bear cubs a life full of meaning and joy.
During her rehabilitation, Kala was taken out for daily forest walks to learn important forest skills by our bear care staff for almost one year. She is making good progress through gaining confidence while climbing in the trees, loving to be outside and finally learning how to be a bear. When she was about one year and three months old, she had reached the age where she was no longer vulnerable for a human to walk with her in the forest.
Last year in November we tried to let Kala meet new cubs and make friends (Boboi, Kitud and Tan-Tan). Unfortunately, Kala was not accepted by her three companions due to her rough play fighting, but we will continue to look for other bears who she might find some companionship with. This is a time for little Kala to make new friends and go out into the sunshine. On February 23rd, 2016 a veterinarian from the Sabah Wildlife Department, Dr Laura Benedict, and Wong Siew Te with our bear care team helped in the moving process. During the process, a general health check on Kala was conducted to assess potential sickness, functionality of organs and physical condition. The blood tests concluded that Kala was a healthy bear and she now weighs 23.35kg.
When moving Kala to her new dens, the other neighboring bears showed curiosity to the little cub. Kala’s den is designed in a semi natural style to give her a real taste of freedom and to stimulate her natural behavior in the wild.
The bear care team has given Kala various enrichment items – these have included puzzle feeders, fire hose bags, fire hose pockets filled with peanut butter, green leaves, logs, and hidden treats encouraging Kala to forage. Little by little she tried out every enrichment and ventured around the new den. Kala is extremely playful and loves to investigate new toys! When it comes to food, she eats all her meals with relish!
These events have given Kala a new journey in life. Beautiful Kala has been so strong and brave in shaking off her past and loves her freedom today. We will continue to help Kala develop the forest skills she needs until she returns to the wild again. The next step for Kala is she will be introduced to the bears who are the same age as her and slowly will have access to the natural forest enclosure. So stay turned!
VISITS- MRSM Tun Fuad Stephen Sandakan Visit
Students from the Maktab Rendah Sains Mara (MRSM) Tun Fuad Stephen in Sandakan visited BSBCC on the 16th February 2016. BSBCC’s education team brought the 88 students that came around the visiting area for an interpretative walk to observe the sun bears while learning about the sun bears’ ecology and threats.
The guided tour was created for the benefit of allowing students to contribute some of their time and resources, be it expertise or experience for the betterment of a charismatic species that is found endemic to Borneo, that is the Bornean sun bear. They will be able to share the sun bear information to the public and to promote and encourage public to involve in wildlife conservation.
To create a generation that is more environmentally aware, students should be given information on the importance of preserving and conserving the environment. We were very happy to have the chance to share our knowledge and experience of working with sun bears to the students. All of the students enjoyed their time learning about the environment and wildlife species from the talk, and tour around the Centre. We hope that they can gain more knowledge on of protecting the environment and our precious wildlife species.
OUTREACH PROGRAMMES- SK. BANDAR SANDAKAN
The first school BSBCC’s education team visited this year was SK Bandar Sandakan. The primary school located 5 minutes away from Sandakan town comprised of 610 students. The school was more than happy to have all their students involved in the programme which started at 7.30 am after the school’s weekly assembly. BSBCC was fortunate to have the support from other Sabah-based organizations; HUTAN-KOCP, Sabah Wildlife Department and Sandakan Borneo Bird Club.
The programme aims to raise awareness among students about the importance of protecting wildlife, their habitat and the environment as a whole. The programme started with a brief introduction by BSBCC and introduction of each organizations that were present. This was followed by a talk on the protection of wild animals by Mr. Aznandy from Sabah Wildlife Department. The kids were excited to learn about the diversity of our wildlife. They were amazed of the existence of many species endemic to the Bornean island.
The Sandakan Borneo Bird Club conducted an interactive activity where students were told to mimic the song of birds found in Borneo. The best bird call mimic won a prize. Encik Haslan from HUTAN–KOCP was next to present a brief talk about orangutans and efforts done to conserve them. Being the slowest reproducing mammal in the world, they are highly prone to extinction.
Last but not least, Miss Gloria from BSBCC introduced the sun bears to the kids. Our sun bear mascot, Sunny was also present to help the kids understand better about the physical characters of a sun bear.
As Sunny appeared on stage, the students got excited and were eager to learn more about the sun bears. BSBCC team together with the supporting organizations set up display booths at the school. This helped to share our stories about wildlife even better, especially for the students to understand more about the importance to conserve them.
Special thanks to the support from the Sandakan Education Department and the SK Bandar teachers who were glad to work together with us to raise awareness in
environmental conservation among these students.