If you reading this blog, you are no doubt a bear lover, an animal lover, a naturalist, a biologist, a conservationist, or just a regular people who care about our nature, wildlife, and mother Earth. You cared, concerned, and I thank you for that.
Now I would like to ask you for a favor. I am not asking you to donate money this time, but I would like to ask you to sign a petition that will help improve our wildlife law in Malaysia. Please read more about this petition at the press release below and sign the petition at www.petitiononline.com/MYLaw/petition. html.
Now I have my own story to tell why this petition is important. I want to show you some photos and tell you the stories of many wildlife were killed and poached because our wildlife law need to be strengthen. By strengthening the law, we hope the awareness and enforcement of these law will be improved and benefit both wildlife and human. I apologize for showing photos but I think we all need to know that this kind brutal killing is happening in this country and it has to be stop by any mean. Although habitat destruction is by far the most important threat to the wildlife in Malaysia, poaching and illegal killing of wildlife can easily wipe out the small local population of the wildlife that are living in the fragmented landscape.
This sun bear carcass was found beside a hiking trail after being freshly slaughtered and only the gall bladder being removed by the poacher. According to the local guide, the poacher sold the gallbladder for about US$100. (Photo: Sue Chong)
This nursing female bear with a small cub was killed in an oil palm plantation. Sun bears that live adjacent to oil palm plantation frequently enter oil palm plantation to feed on oil palm seeds. Sun bears that entering these plantation were extremely vulnerable to poaching as many legal and illegal hunters hunt in the plantation for wild boars. These bears often become easy target for poachers as fewer cover available when they are at night in a plantation. Poachers are not hesitate to kill sun bears as flawed wildlife law and seriously lack of enforcement. (Photo: New Straits Times)
This freshly killed male bear was another victim of poachers that hunt for their meat, gall bladder, canine, claw, pelt, etc. (Photo: Robert Steubing)
Remmy, one of my former research assistant, found a dead Sunda clouded leopard at our study when he tracked one of our radio-collared sun bear. Poacher shot his large male clouded leopard that are so rare in close distant and discarded the body. Sometime poachers killed animals for no reason. Again, this incident shown that the wildlife law and enforcement needs to be strengthened, as well as education and conservation awareness needs to be promoted.
You have to see this to believe this. This female Bornean pygmy elephant were probably killed by “slow death”- infection that led to gangrene from the at least 13 bullet wounds I counted at her back site. Poachers simply shot this magnificent animal for no reason, or, for fun? I will never get it why in the world would people wanted to do this kind of killing! She was drop death by the road site in my study area. I wonder how many animals that were killed for no reason and poached for a reason were left unnoticed. I strongly believe that what we are seeing and hearing may represent a tip of an iceberg. There are many more animals being killed out there!
Snares are by far any wildlife and conservationists’ nightmare. Snares are easy to make and set, cheap, light to carry, and most importantly, they are effective! You will be amazed with how similar the mechanism of snares across different continents in the world and low long human have been using the same kind of design for snaring wildlife simply because they works. In order to increase the efficiency of these snares, most hunters or poachers would construct a simple fence on the forest floor for kilometers and left little “gap” or “opening” where the loop of the snares is set. When an animal traveling on the forest floor and come across the fence, they tend to follow the fence and funneled to the little gap and they try to across the fence through that little opening where poachers already set the deathly loop on the floor awaited for their kills. As you can imagine, these snares are set by hundreds as they are cheap and easy to carry into the forest interior. What make snares a true nightmare for everyone who care about wildlife is that they do not discriminate what species of wildlife can be their next victim. Willdife as small as a pheasants, mousedeer, pangolins, civets, muntjacts, wild boar, deer, bears, and all the way range to large mammals like rhinos and elephants are some of the common victims of snares.
These three photos are photos of a snared sun bear in my study area in Sabah. The bear managed to struggled and cut himself lose from the snare but suffered severe injuries: the heavy duty nylon fishing line cut through his arm, and he also suffered from a dislocated shoulder as a result of struggling to break free. The survival of this bear was probably very low. You can read more about this bear at: http://wongsiewte.blogspot.com/2008/03/plight-of-wild-sun-bears.html
A camera trap set along old logging road in my study area photographed this Bornean pygmy elephant. A closer look at the elephant trunk revealed this elephant was a victim of snares. His trunk has a snare that cut a big opening about half way of her trunk. Chances of survive for this unfortunate elephant is low with a trunk that has a hole on it. She probably cannot drink properly and take food by her trunk. (Photo: Andy Hearns and Joanna Ross)
Text by Ruben Sario
19th October 2008
KOTA KINABALU: There is hope for a bright future for sun bears in Sabah that are facing extinction. A sanctuary is being set up in Sandakan for the bears.
The state Wildlife Department together with the state Forestry Department and non-governmental organisation Land Empowerment Animals People (Leap) will jointly set up the conservation centre next to the orang utan rehabilitation centre.
Wildlife Department director Laurentius Ambu said the sun bear facility would be the first of its kind in Asia and was aimed at rehabilitation, research and education efforts concerning the animal.
There are already 11 sun bears which the department had seized from various individuals now being kept at Sepilok, he said.
Ambu said that although there were no figures to ascertain the number of sun bears now, wildlife experts were convinced that the mammals would be classified as “endangered” very soon.
“What we do know is that there is a small population of sun bears scattered around the state but their forest habitat is shrinking and they are threatened by poaching,” he told The Star.
Ambu added that the sun bear population worldwide was estimated at about 10,000. A fraction of them are in Sabah.
Leap executive director Cynthia Ong said the organisation and the two departments hoped to get construction of the RM1.2mil sun bear centre going by early next year.
“We are having a fund-raising on Nov 14 at the ShangriLa Tanjung Aru Resort here,” she said. Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman will be among the guests at the event.
For further details about the sun bear conservation centre, call 088-270 705 or e-mail to email@example.com.
New Sabah Times
18th October 2008
18th October, 2008 KOTA KINABALU: Wildlife conservation in Sabah gets a boost with the setting up of Asia’s first Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre. Construction work begins early next year at Sepilok in Sandakan and according to the centre director, Cynthia Ong, if all goes according to plan, it will be completed by the end of 2009.
However, it will require some RM1.2 million to realise the mission and the centre is therefore organising a fundraising dinner event on November 14 to be held at the Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort. Dubbed “Bear Necessities” it will bring together heads of government, non-government organisations and corporate leaders with some of Malaysia’s best-known personalities to provide the entertainment.
The celebrities include Daphne Iking, Jit Murad, Lina Teoh, Rafique Rashid, Roger Wang, Elaine Daly, Amir Yussof, Albert Sirimal and Badar. Cynthia said the centre is crucial for the survival of the bears as there is no facility in Sabah to shelter the growing number of bears rescued by the Sabah Wildlife Department from captivity or after they have been left orphaned.
“In fact, many people in Sabah don’t know that Borneo is actually home to the world’s smallest bear, the little known Malayan Sun Bear,” she said.
She added that the distribution of the Malayan Sun Bear was originally widespread throughout Southeast Asia, but now Sabah remained as one of the few places in the world where it can still be found.
Sadly, deforestation is pushing this bear to the brink of extinction. At the same time, the bears are also under threat from illegal hunters either for food or medicinal purposes, at times shot to prevent damage to crops and villages and worse, taken by poachers for the pet trade.
“This innovative project aims to provide a holistic approach to the conservation of the Sun Bear, combining improved facilities for captive bears with increased public awareness both at the local and international levels".
“Perhaps most importantly, they can be released back into the wild after being rehabilitated,” she said. State Wildlife Department director, Laurentius Ambu said that without the centre, the Bornean Sun Bear would probably be extinct in 30 years’ time. He said that the worldwide sun bear population is estimated to be around 10,000 and that it was in danger because of forest fragmentation and loss of habitat. It is also widely sought for its gallbladder thought to have medicinal value and can even be found sold at markets such as the Gaya Street in Kota Kinabalu, he said.
He warned that the Bornean sun bear is a protected species and those found in possession with one could face imprisonment. Meanwhile, tables for the event are priced at RM50,000 (10 tables); RM30,000 (10 tables); RM20,000 (10 tables) and RM10,000 (20 tables).
For more information on the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre or the Bear Necessities Event, please contact: 088-270705 firstname.lastname@example.org via email.