Borneo bulletin, 12th March 2017
THREE conservationists and environmentalists yesterday emphasised the need for younger generations to voice their ideas as sustainability issues appear to have fallen behind, to create a better future.
Speaking at the 13th International School Brunei (ISB) Borneo Global Issues Conference at the International Convention Centre yesterday, Kenny Peavy, who is an American author, explorer and eco-activist, urged students to go outside and explore.
“No matter what your skills and talents are, you can do something to make a difference,” he said as the keynote speaker.
“My fondness to music helps conserve the environment where I started a programme relating to music and the environment to raise awareness on endangered species in Southeast Asia. There is no overnight success. It takes a very long time. Whatever your talent, skills and interest, make sure you use them to address something for common goals,” he said.
Peavy rode a bamboo bike across Southeast Asia to raise awareness for sustainability in the region and paddled around Phuket, Thailand in a kayak with the Green Paddlers to teach people about marine conservation issues in the region.
Meanwhile another keynote speaker, Dr Wong Siew Te, the founder and CEO of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre said Borneo is home to 15,000 species of flowering plants, 3,000 species of trees of which 267 species are dipterocarp, 221 species of terrestrial mammals, 420 species of resident birds, 440 freshwater fish (about the same as Sumatra and Java combined) and 100,000 species of invertebrates (including insects).
He also stressed on seeking alternatives, citing examples that instead of cutting down natural forests, fast growing species like Acasia could be used for consumption.
“We have to support sustainable palm oil as much as possible. We have to use less resources, recycle as must as possible and value food and not waste our food.”
Karan Jerath, 19, UN Global Young Leader and inventor said if we want to help change the world, “it does not matter how old you are or where you came from, and how much you know, as long as you allow your idea to become a reality.”
He said that those attending the conference prove they care for the planet and action must be taken.
“You are not too young to lead the future. You need to be resilient and persistent in your endeavour. Dare to achieve the unimaginable and challenge the existence of norms and do not shy away from obstacles or limit yourself but instead receive with confidence and go forward with your ideas,” he said.
“Your ideas will be world-changing. Obstacles might appear and there may be times that you may not succeed. But you will come back stronger,” Jerath said.
New Straits Times, 11th March 2017
by Es Tung
The Kancil and Friends event will celebrate the mousedeer and other creatures of our jungles, writes Es Tung
HE’S clever. He’s tricky. And he’s undoubtedly the icon of the Nusantara.
This month, the Malaysian Heritage and History Club is paying tribute to the Sang Kancil (the lesser mousedeer), a creature long immortalised in local fable and folklore for its wit and intelligence.
To be held at the Badan Warisan, KL, the day-long Kanchil and Friends event will feature stories and facts linked to this cunning little creature whose population is being threatened by development.
The Sang Kancil appeared in the tale of ruler Parameswara and his escape from Temasek when the Majapahit invaded the island. One day, while looking for a place to settle down, Parameswara and his men came to a river bank. While resting beneath a tree, Parameswara caught sight of a mousedeer trying to cross a river on a fallen tree trunk. As it was about halfway through, one of Parameswara’s dogs gave chase. But before the dog could take a bite of the tiny creature, the mousedeer, instead of running, knelt down instead. Using its powerful hind legs, it kicked the canine on the nose, taking the dog by surprise and causing it to lose balance and fall into the river.
Amused by the mousedeer’s response, Parameswara was also inspired by the fact that such a tiny animal could defeat its prey many times its size. Parameswara decided not to run any more but settle down in the area and named it Melaka, after the tree where the kancil defeated the dog.
There are many other tales that have been told of the adventures of the cunning mousedeer: that it made a fool out of an elephant to escape being trapped in a trench, tricked tigers into not eating it, and made crocodiles line up so it could cross the river.
On March 18, however, visitors to the Kanchil And Friends event will get to learn more about this nusantara icon in a talk by renowned director Hassan Muthalib, the man responsible for the Sang Kancil TV animated series during the late 1980s. But it’s not only the kancil that will be in the spotlight.
There will also be talks conducted by a host of experts in their fields on other animals and their conservation, including gibbons, tree shrews, Bornean sunbears, owls, bats and primates.
TALKS, BOOTHS AND STALLS
A number of fringe activities will be held too, from 10.30am to 6pm, and these will include exhibition booths featuring carnivorous plants, a museum of zoology repository by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, a cave ecosystem by a cave management group and more.
Visitors can also trawl various booths selling books on topics related to Malaysian flora and fauna, and on the adventures of Sang Kancil.
Those looking for souvenirs and handicrafts made by the Orang Asals can check out the stalls selling the items.
Founder of the Malaysian Historical and Heritage Club, Bert Tan, elaborates that this event is being held to create an appreciation of and promote love for our fauna and flora and wildlife. “This event is made possible by our hardworking members, especially zoo-archaeologist Lim Tze Tshen who has managed to gather all the speakers,” adds Tan.
Among the speakers will be Dr Wong Siew Te who will be speaking on the conservation of the Bornean sunbear, Dr Nadine Rupert (from Universiti Sains Malaysia), who will give a review on primate research, and Dr Jayaraj Vijaya Kumaran (from Universiti Malaysia Kelantan) who will speak on tree shrews.
“During our last event, Tenok And Friends held last April, we saw more than 500 visitors,” says Tan. “This time, hopefully, we will get more people to come as it will be held on a Saturday and we’ve had more time to promote the event.
The 48-year-old adds: “This time we will also see a presentation by our younger participants, Sarah Cher, 9, and Jenna Elle, 6, who will be talking about the endangered Sumatran rhino and will conduct a quiz about the animal kingdom.
“ One of them will also teach visitors to make origami animals, including a horse.
“This event is not only for adults but also for children to come and have fun.”
When: March 18
Where: Badan Warisan, 2, Jalan Stonor, KL
For details, call 012-601 6371 (Lim). Check out Malaysian Heritage and History Club’s Facebook event page at www.facebook.com/events/662264907231828/
Text By Peter Lowe
Photos By Sumira Muis
I am Peter Lowe, 66 years of age, retired chef/catering manager/restaurant manager. I am British and have resided in Prague, Czech Republic for the past 22 years and this is now my home :-):-)
I have had a love for animals from a very young age and I wanted to be either a Zoo Keeper or a vet. However I realised this required a great deal of study/expense and I was not the best student. At this time I became fascinated with Borneo and it's unique fauna and eco system, especially the wild men of Borneo = the Orangutan :-):-)
One autumn evening in 2015 I was surfing the net when I spotted an advertisement for volunteering at Melaka Zoo helping to care for the Primates for 2 weeks and 2 weeks volunteering on the Kinabatangan river, helping to clear previous logging areas of undergrowth, clearing creepers etc. from newly planted fruit trees, planting fruit trees, spotting wildlife from the river, recording the species No's and the map co-ordinates, helping in the community.
I contacted the agency concerned and got a placement for the month of March 2016. Whilst volunteering at Melaka Zoo I helped care for the Malaysian Sun bears there and fell in love with these delightful bears:-) The final day in Borneo we visited the Orangutan Centre, The Rain Forest Discovery Centre and the Bornean Sunbear Conservation Centre. Whilst at the BSBCC I had the good fortune to meet briefly with Dr.Wong, the founder of the centre then later, at lunch, most if the team from Ape Malaysia and I vowed, my health and stamina permitting, I would return to volunteer at the BSBCC in 2017 :-)
I'm now into the second week working at the Borneo Sunbear Conservation Centre. The work can be hard and messy however it is so rewarding = it is a privilege to work with these very special bears, the smallest and, in my opinion, the cutest bears in this World plus the people at the BSBCC are very special = welcoming, positive, kind and full of enthusiasm and it is catching :-):-):-) I just love being here, being given the opportunity to have this very unique experience and to learn so much. Absolutely priceless.
The volunteers stay near to the BSBCC in accommodation overlooking rain forest. The views are spectacular. There is a restaurant, sun deck and hammocks for relaxation. The volunteers have their own cooking facilities, western style toilets, showers with hot water and a washing machine!! They are driven to the BSBCC daily, leaving the accommodation at 7.45 each morning to start work at 8.00.
The work will sometimes be hard and messy and will include weighing out each bears morning feed of rice according to their diet weight requirements. Preparing the fruit for the morning feed = weighing, washing and then weighing the fruit for the individual pens, scrubbing, cutting and cooking sweet potatoes and sweet corn to kill any pesticides etc. and to enhance the smell for the bears. Cleaning out the bears night cages, washing the food trays and identification tags, checking the electric fences, feeding the bears in the enclosures/cages.
Lunch is from 12.00-13.30. In the afternoon work will include preparation and weighing the afternoon food trays for the bears, work on enrichment for the bears. The aim of enrichment is to stimulate the bears to make them stand and climb, use their sense of smell, use their claws, teeth and long tongues. This can be pieces of bamboo drilled with holes, filled with rice, honey, peanut butter, then suspended in the bear's sleeping den with rope or more elaborate structures using fire hose and fallen wood found in the surrounding rain forest. The bamboo is also cut from the surrounding rain forest.
The team here at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre are wonderful. By volunteering you are guaranteed to learn a lot and at the same time have great fun and be working for a very worthwhile cause. Do not hesitate = volunteer with BSCC :-):-)
The BSBCC education outreach programme is continuing to be conducted throughout the year and this time the education team visited schools within the Beluran district, about 150km from Sandakan. The schools were SMK Pamol, SK Nangoh and SMK Beluran II. The programme was participated by our partner organization HUTAN-Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Programme and Sabah Wildlife Department. Thanks to their support, the activities were able to be conducted more effectively. In conjunction with the International World Women's Day today, IJM Plantation organized a breast cancer awareness and wildlife awareness programme in SMK Beluran II. We had a great time interacting with students about protecting our wildlife in Sabah. The event was also participated by the Sandakan Borneo Bird Club and Wildlife Rescue Unit which are also Sabah based organizations working to protect the important wildlife in the state.
The Star Online, 5th March 2017
by Mei Mei Chu
PETALING JAYA: Ecologists in Malaysia have lauded Sir David Attenborough's letter to Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman urging the state to rethink the controversial Sukau Bridge, in an effort to save what's left of the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary River.
According to The Guardian, Attenborough and BBC wildlife presenter Steve Backshall have joined local conservationists in lobbying for the RM223mil bridge to be scrapped.
"I have had many encounters with the magnificent and unique species with which your state is blessed …
"If this construction is allowed to go ahead, I am left in no doubt that the bridge will have significant negative effects on the region's wildlife, Kinabatangan's thriving tourism industry, and on the image of Sabah as a whole," Attenborough said in his letter to Musa.
"He is known worldwide and respected. His voice carries weight and is important in critical issues like this," said Dr Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz, principal investigator of the Management and Ecology of Malaysian Elephants.
"In Kinabatangan, you have orangutan, elephants, hornbills, and until recently, rhinos. It is surprisingly rich for its level of fragmentation.
"It doesn't make sense to fragment it any further (with the construction of the bridge)," he added.
Attenborough is one of the very few people in the world to have seen Borneo before logging and palm oil plantations took over, said Wong Siew Te, founder of the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre.
"When Attenborough first visited Kinabatangan River in the 1950s to film the Nature Quest series, Kinabatangan was covered in rich low land rainforest. Over the years, he returned to do more shows and witnessed the forest's destruction.
"It must have been very frustrating for him to see the forest taken over by oil palm plantations. The Sukau Bridge is the last straw," said Wong.
The Federal Government's road and bridge project will see the construction of a 100m bridge across the Kinabatangan River in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, while a dirt road will also be paved, potentially increasing traffic to the area.
The road aims to create better accessibility between five remote coastal villages and the Sukau township where the nearest hospital is located.
Sukau assemblyman Datuk Saddi Abdul Rahman has said there had been at least 10 deaths amongst villagers as the hospital is two hours away.
"We are concerned about our wildlife but we also cannot ignore the needs of people there," he said in January, adding that the Environmental Impact Assessment study is expected to be approved.
However, conservationists argue that the bridge will further endanger the already threatened wildlife population here and disrupt the migratory routes of the rare Bornean pygmy elephant.
Even State Tourism, Culture and Environment Assistant Minister Datuk Pang Nyuk Ming has asked the state government to re-evaluate the project.
The state cannot ignore the implications of the project and the concerns raised by local and international conservationists, he said in January.
"The bridge is an example of bad development – the type of development a country like Malaysia should avoid at this point," Dr Campos-Arceiz said, adding that the new road would directly affect the pygmy elephants' home range.
"The road can increase human-elephant conflict, with elephants entering the roads and plantations along it," he said.
There are also concerns that the new road will create access for illegal poaching, logging, slash-and-burn agriculture, and more oil palm plantations.
Despite objections from local non-governmental organisations such as the Sime Darby Foundation, preliminary construction work for the bridge has reportedly begun.
Which is why Dr Campos-Arceiz and Wong hope that the Sabah chief minister will listen to Attenborough's letter and take action.
"This letter has been picked up by international media," Wong said, adding that he hoped the spotlight will pressure Sabah into halting the project.
"A lot of good work and effort have been put into conserving the wildlife and local community.
"This Sukau bridge will hurt everything we've achieved in the past 20 years; all the good will be gone," he added.
Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/03/05/ecologists-laud-david-attenboroughs-letter-to-sabah-cm/#wXZYsjKgkjVdibdI.99
On the 3rd to 4th of March 2017, BSBCC was participated in the exhibition at the Petrosains PlaySmart, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. This is an educational event intended to promote our local community and students to learn and understand the sciences which influences the environment and to increase awareness one how one's action can impact the environment. Many workshops and activities were held such as Environ-Hunt, My Green House, Eco Superhero, Eco-BUzzer and DIY generator. Agencies from Sabah Park, Sabah Environment Protection Association, Danau Girang Field Centre Raleigh Borneo were joined this events as well. For us, this event serves a good platform the students, teachers and community to obtain valuable information to develop a sound understanding of their total wellbeing and their responsibilities to preserve environment.
BSBCC was involved in an education outreach programme at SMK Sukau, Kinabatangan today. The programme organized by HUTAN-KOCP, an NGO based in the Sukau village aimed to raise awareness on the protection of our environment and surrounding wildlife. Several activities were conducted including talks, exhibitions, environmental games and a "wildlife dance" to conclude the programme. The Sabah Wildlife Department was also invited to present a talk about protected species in the state. Students of SMK Sukau resides in areas adjacent to the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. We hope that reaching these young generations could lead them towards further protecting our environment today and in the future,
Text by Seng Yen Wah
Photos by Seng Yen Wah & Chiew Lin May
Kina (Rescue- 54), an one year old female sun bear cub and Sika (Rescue-55), a four months old female sun bear cub were sent to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) by the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) today (1st March 2017). These two rescued sun bears arrived at BSBCC from the Lok Kawi Wildlife Zoo in Kota Kinabalu.
Kina was found around the village of Malak Palak, at Kota Marudu, in the northern region of Sabah. We named her “Kina”, after the place where she was kept. Her owner claimed that Kina’s mother was crossing a road and got frightened then just ran away and left Kina behind. Kina was just a bear cub and had not even opened her eyes yet. Hence, her owner took her and kept her for more than a year. He then decided to surrender her to SWD.
Sika is named after the place that she was rescued from. She was found by a foreigner who travelled to the village of Sikalabaan, in Pensiangan district, located in the interior division of Sabah. Pensiangan is one of the most rural areas in Sabah which is located deep in Borneo’s jungle. He had visited BSBCC before. He decided to call BSBCC and asked for the centre to rescue this bear cub once he saw that a villager was keeping her in a chicken mesh cage as a pet. She was previously fed condense milk, fruits and cereal.
A Veterinarian from the SWD, Dr. Nabila Sarkawi performed a full medical checkup for Kina and Sika before they were sent to BSBCC. Kina weighed 12.85kg and Sika weighed 4.8kg. Both rescued bears are healthy, active, bright and alert bear.
Sun Bears are a “Totally Protected” Species under the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment in 1997. Based on this enactment, any activities that could hurt the sun bear is totally prohibited which includes keeping a sun bear as a pet. Any offenders could face either 10 years in jail, fined up to RM100,000 or both. There is no reason for keeping a sun bear as a pet. They are wild animals and they should stay in the wild. In fact, the bear cub will be attached to their mother until they are two to three years old. A mother will never abandon her children. The only reason that could make this happen is the mother was killed and the children were brought away from their mother by poachers. Keeping them as a pet and illegal poaching is an unforgivable act to the sun bear.
Thankfully, Kina and Sika were rescued and gets a second chance for her life.From now, Kina and Sika will go through quarantine and will receive good care from the BSBCC bear care unit.We hope they will gain strength and be able to be released back into the wild one day.
We will keep you updated on their progress. Lastly, please spread the word to keep sun bears WILD and NOT as Pets! Be their voice!!