July 17, 2009 20:17 PM
Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre To Be Built In Sepilok
SANDAKAN, July 17 (Bernama) - A Borneo sun bear conservation centre will be set up in Sepilok here in an effort to prevent the endangered animal from becoming extinct.
It will be next to the Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre in Sepilok, and the ground-breaking ceremony for the project was officiated by state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun, here, Friday.
Director of the sun bear conservation centre, Cynthia Ong, said the centre, to be built in three phases, would have facilities including a home that could accommodate 43 sun bears, a visitors' area, a gallery for exhibits and a natural walkway.
She said two hectares of the centre were located in the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve area, hence allowing the bears to live in a natural environment.
The first phase of the project involves building a home that can take in 27 sun bears and is expected to be ready in six months from now.
Ong said the RM1.3 million needed for the first phase came from the private sector and government agencies.
"We are now trying to raise RM600,000 needed for the second phase and RM900,000 for the third phase of the project," she added in her speech at the ground-breaking ceremony.
She also said that the setting up of the centre involved the cooperation of the Sabah Wildlife Department, Sabah Forestry Department and LEAP (Land Empowerment Animals People), a non-governmental organisation.