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.
Anna learned to radio-track wild colloared sun bears in the rainforest of Borneo.
Anna’s story is a good one to tell. She is SO 100% fall in love with sun bear after spending few months of her life working with the sun bear (actually, who won’t?). Anna never stop thinking and never stop doing for sun bear even after she returned home to UK. She is one of the founding member of the UK Sun Bear Conservation Trust and has been doing a lot to raise fund for sun bear, including running Marathon for two time to raise fund for BSBCC.
Anna plan to come back to Sabah to continue her work with sun bear and study sun bear. BSBCC always welcome energetic and passionate people like Anna to work with us. I am truly blessed to have Anna working with me and helping sun bears over the past few years. I hope her story will inspire more people to care and to work with sun bear in the future.