Daily Express ("Adopt A Sun Bear" drive)
By Anthea Peter
Sin Chew Daily
See Hua Daily News
The Borneo Post
THE BORNEO POST
Thursday, 19th October 2023
KOTA KINABALU (Oct 19): In continuation of their CSR initiative since 2022, Crack Inc. Borneo Coffee Roastery is organizing “Adopt A Sun Bear Charity Event 2023” jointly with The LUMA Hotel and the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) as part of a tri-party collaborative project to save the sun bears.
Themed “Connect, Conserve, Collaborate” – the event will be held at the LUMA Hotel herr from Nov 17 to 19 2023. The fund-raising project aims to support and to increase awareness of the BSBCC’s effort in protection and conservation of sun bears. It also aims to promote local relevance in tourism and coffee culture of Sabah through The LUMA Hotel – a member of the Design Hotels and Crack Inc. Borneo Coffee Roastery – a local coffee roaster.
To get the ball rolling, Crack Inc. announced that they will take the lead to continue another year of adoption of a sun bear named Ah Lun.
In 2022’s event, the CSR project managed to sell 17 pieces of artwork produced by local artists amounting RM31,000 and brought about adoption of two sun bears.
The public is welcome to make their contributions by purchasing BSBCC merchandise or by donation in cash or online transfer.
In support of BSBCC’s commitment, Crack Inc. will launch a special blend coffee beans dedicated to BSBCC, for sale during the event; part of the proceeds of this bean will go to BSBCC.
BSBCC Chief Executive Officer and Founder Dr (Hon) Wong Siew Te said the project is instrumental in bridging the knowledge gap when it comes to sun bear conservation.
“Do what you do best to help the conservation of the environment and the wild animals in Sabah, especially the sun bear. We have the duty to protect what’s left of their remaining habitat and eliminate illegal poaching now, or else many sun bear population will become locally extinct or even regional extinct soon.
“As for The LUMA Hotel, it welcomes visitors from domestic destinations as well as around the world, and connects them to learn about the beauty of Sabah and sun bear,” he said at a press conference on Thursday.
“It will benefit the nature, the people and the economy as well, especially with nature-based tourism being a big industry in Sabah right now.
“When we all collaborate together, when we connect with each other, we can conserve our endangered species,” he added.
Also present at the press conference were Crack Inc. Executive Director Wayne Liew and The LUMA Hotel General Manager Michele Ma.
New Straits Times
Friday, 11 August 2023
By Paul Mu
Sabah Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Joniston Bangkuai (centre), Sabah Wildlife Department deputy director Roland Nium (left) and Loob Holding Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Bryan Loo (right) launch the sun bear adoption campaign. -NSTP/PAUL MU
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is committed in protecting the sun bear as a national heritage, which is is aligned with its conservation-driven tourism vision.
State Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said a newly-launched campaign to adopt sun bears will help the Sabah Wildlife Department establish practical goals for sun bear recovery.
"The population of sun bears in the country is now around 2,500," he said during the launch of the Bask Bear Coffee campaign to encourage Malaysians to adopt sun bears at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) in Sandakan.
He said the BSBCC houses 42 sun bears, which were mostly rescued by the Sabah Wildlife Department from poachers and pet owners.
He said the effort to adopt a sun bear will enable people to support related scientific research and promotes the wellbeing of this totally protected species under the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment.
Meanwhile, Sabah Wildlife Department deputy director Roland Nium said the sun bear is among the 12 totally protected species in the state following the extinction of the Sumatran rhinoceros in 2019.
He said strict enforcement has boosted conservation efforts and this can be boosted with increased public awareness, he said. He said sun bears faced major threats in the form of illegal poaching for its paws, gall bladders and bile, which fetch very high prices in the black market.Those caught for illegal poaching can be face up to five years imprisonment and be fined RM250,000, upon conviction.
Meanwhile, Loob Holding Sdn Bhd founder and chief executive officer Bryan Loo said the company adopted a three-month-old sun bear named Tenom. He said the company, which owns Bask Bear Coffee, said its 96 outlets nationwide will engage in efforts to encourage people to know more about sun bears. It is also aiming to raise funds to adopt another sun bear at the BSBCC. He said each adoption costs RM7,200 annually and it involves staff rehabilitating captured bears for their eventual release into the wild.
BSBCC's founder and chief executive officer Dr Wong Siew Te hoped the campaign would raise awareness about sun bears status as protected animals. He urged people to join the 'Adopt a Sun Bear' campaign to support their conservation efforts.
Friday, 11 August 2023
According to Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, Sabah’s wild sun bear population is estimated to be 2,400. – Wikipedia pic, August 11, 2023
KOTA KINABALU – Sabah wants more private companies to take part in the conservation of totally protected wildlife in the state, said the state’s assistant tourism minister.
Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said companies could emulate the effort done by coffee company Bask Bear, which has adopted an orphaned sun bear called Tenom, here today.
“Companies, like the Bask Bear Coffee, stand to gain not only from the positive brand image associated with their commitment to environmental responsibility but also from the satisfaction of making a tangible impact.
“I would like to congratulate Bask Bear Coffee for adopting Tenom and for their ongoing efforts to adopt a second bear. The Sabah government values the contributions of the business sector to the Sabah Wildlife Department’s conservation initiatives.
“Your campaign will enable not just the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre, but also the Sabah Wildlife Department to set realistic actionable goals for sun bear recovery.” he said. Bask Bear Coffee is also raising donations to aid sun bear conservation through an adoption programme offered by the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre based in Sandakan. The centre needs around RM7,200 a year to rehabilitate one bear before they could be released back to the forest.
According to Bangkuai, the wild sun bear population is estimated to be 2,400 and 42 are in the shelter, most of which have been rescued by the state Wildlife Department from poachers and pet owners. The sun bear is classified as one of the 13 totally protected species under Schedule 1 of the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment. Other totally protected wildlife species include the Banteng and pangolins. Sabah has already lost its rhinoceros.
Also present were Loob Holding Sdn Bhd founder and chief executive Bryan Loo, and the Sabah Wildlife Department’s Roland Niun.
Sunday, 11 Jun 2023
By Stephanie Lee
KOTA KINABALU: A three-month-old sun bear cub named Tenom has avoided a life of being reared as a pet, and is now at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) for rehabilitation. BSBCC founder Dr Wong Siew Te said that the 4kg cub was bought for RM500 from a village in the Beaufort-Sipitang border on May 29.
He said after Tenom was rescued by wildlife rangers, it was surrendered to the Wildlife Department and then transferred to the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park. “She arrived at the wildlife park on June 2, bright and alert, but with some old scabs on her head and body,” he said when contacted.
Wong said his team of conservationists only transferred Tenom to the BSBCC on Saturday (June 10).
“It was a long journey, but worthwhile for this cub. Tenom is an active and feisty bear. When we first met her, she was already climbing up and down in her cage,” he said. “She is vocal when unhappy and definitely makes sure she's heard. She has such a loud bark for a small body,” added Wong.
Wong said Tenom was very curious of her new surroundings when she was allowed out of her cage upon arrival at the BSBCC and did not stop climbing and exploring her new enclosure.
He said Tenom did not appear scared or nervous, adding that she enjoyed the dried leaves and furniture that was in the cage. “Her caretakers seem to be the ones nervous and scared seeing her climbing and hanging upside down,” he said.
At night, they observed her getting comfortable and sleeping on her pile of dried leaves, said Wong.
“Tenom is playful, curious, and full of energy. We are happy that Tenom did not end up being someone's pet at home and living in a tiny cage,” he said.
He said his team will continue to do their best to give Tenom the best “bear experience" and hope that one day, she can be returned to the forest.
“Nevertheless, it is sad to wonder about what happened to Tenom's mother. In an ideal world, Tenom would be living happily with her mum in the forest learning the bare necessities naturally,” said Wong.
He said bear cubs are adorable but they are definitely not meant to be pets, adding that it is illegal to possess a sun bear or any parts of the animal.
He said that the public should report such incidents to the Sabah Wildlife Department for action.
Wong said poaching still exists and remains active in Sabah, and hopes that all offenders are arrested and prosecuted.
On May 12, it was reported that a protected sun bear was shot dead after the animal attacked an elderly man in the Telupid district, some 220km from kota Kinabalu. The bear was also kept as a pet before it escaped its cage. “We have been trying to stop this madness in Sabah for the past 15 years. We have used up so much resources, time and effort for rehabilitation and this kind of rescue work should come to an end, but yet, this is still happening,” Wong said. Towards this end, he thanked Hasanah Foundation and the Sime Darby Foundation for supporting their conservation efforts.
The Oscar and Golden Globes winner actress, who’s known famously for her role in the modern James Bond films and for the upcoming film adaptation of musical theater ‘Cats’ this year, Dame Judi Dench came to Sabah last April for her documentary filming by one of the world’s leading documentary film makers and producers, Anthony Geffen. The documentary, “Judi Dench’s Wild Borneo Adventure” features the Dame’s experience with Orangutans, Sun Bears, elephants, crocodiles and hornbills. This is not the first time for Dame Judi filmed a nature documentary; she has previously worked with Geffen on another BBC Special documentary titled “Judi Dench: My Passion for Trees” in 2017. Our team in BSBCC was so delighted to have Dame Judi just in time for the release of Boboi, Kitud, and Tan-Tan back to where they should belong. It has been a wonderful experience filming with the Dame and it was really great for BSBCC to be also featured in her documentary, as the viewers can watch in more detail on how our rehabilitated orphan bears being released back into the wild. The story is told in Episode 1, which is being broadcast on 2nd July 9pm in UK channel ITV1. Quotes from Dame Judi Dench about the series: “I can’t quite believe we are here and what we are going to see. What we are going to find out. What we are going to discover.” “I’ve learnt how vulnerable this wonderful place is and what we need to do to save it. This journey has affected me so much, and I’m thrilled I’ve been asked to be an ambassador for its rainforest.”
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Tourism and Malaysia Airlines are jointly hosting international wildlife BBC UK presenter, Kate Humble who is currently on a nine-day wildlife adventure tour to Sandakan, Kinabatangan and Deramakot.
Humble’s trip to Sabah is a special initiative by travel consultants Wildlife Worldwide UK to feature Sabah as an off-the-beaten wildlife expedition package for UK travelers. The package is expected to take off later this year.
The highlight of the wildlife expedition will be the presenter’s mission to see and learn about the elusive clouded leopard which can only be found deep in the rainforests of Sabah.
Sabah Tourism had met Humble at the Sepilok and the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) where she had the chance to meet and share insights with Dr Wong Siew Te, founder of the BSBCC.
“This place (Sepilok) is extraordinarily well set-up for travelers like me,” said Humble who was also pleased to see locals visit the centre.
“To be able to see 6-7 species of mammals within the hour half during the night walk at Rainforest Discovery Centre is really special!” she added.
Humble will also be writing her experiences for the Daily Telegraph UK.
New Straits Times, 8th June 2018
by Avila Geraldine
KOTA KINABALU: Despite stringent laws in Sabah, many continue to use the social media platforms to trade endangered exotic wildlife as pets across the nation.
Raising the concern, Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) has identified Facebook and Instagram accounts offering sun bear cubs, civet cats, leaf monkeys, gibbons, leopard cats, raptors, hornbills and tapir among others.
BSBCC founder and chief executive officer Dr Wong Siew Te said the authorities would know about this and yet there are not enough action taken by them.
“I have reported my findings since last year and sadly it's business as usual for some of the people involved,” he told NSTP.
“If this continues, our wildlife will be gone soon. There are already many wildlife population affected by habitat lost over the past 50 years.
“The remaining wildlife population are barely hanging on to the highly fragmented habitat with a lot of poaching pressure,” Wong said.
Wong, a wildlife biologist, said most of the traders operate using private accounts and some have their contacts clearly stated. “They can be traced and contacted, if the authorities wants to.”
He urged the government to seriously look into this as illegal wildlife traders and buyers appear not to be afraid of the law.
“It’s time for change on how we look at wildlife conservation. The government needs to look at wildlife crime more seriously,” he stressed.
Wong noted that the BSBCC celebrated Sun Bear Day on May 16 to raise public awareness on the protection and conservation of sun bears.
But few days later, close to the end of May, he detected an advertisement that offered a sun bear cub online.
Sun bears are totally protected in Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia. It is also a protected species in Sarawak.
Wong stressed wild animals sold were national treasures, adding they play important roles in the forest ecosystem.
“They are abducted and killed. If we keep quiet and choose to do nothing, soon our forest will become an empty forest,” he added.