In preparation for our upcoming sixth year of operating as the BSBCC, and our transition into being a fully-functioning education center that will be open to the public 7 days a week, we took an important day-and-a-half out of our busy bear schedule for a staff retreat. We were very grateful to accept facilitation for the retreat from our partner organization LEAP (Land Empowerment Animal People) and leadership in team communication throughout the retreat from LEAP’s CEO and founder, Cynthia Ong.
During our time at the retreat, we created a timeline of each team member’s introduction with the centre, along with positive and negative experiences, which was inspiring and enlightening for us all. We also spend time discussing various aspects of the BSBCC that affect our overall progress, our ideals for successful rehabilitation and centre management, as well as, aspects that we look forward to developing. It was an engaging opportunity for the BSBCC team and LEAP to reiterate our mission, goals and vision for a successful centre and healthy transition into the new and improved Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre of 2014 and beyond.
By Wong Siew Te
Stuarts Point Pre School always has a special heart for sun bears ever since I was introduced to their director Erin Chapman last January by a close friend of Erin who visited BSBCC earlier and shared our stories. They would like to do more and to help sun bear. A Sun Bear Project has been initiated in the preschool. The project "hope to raise awareness of the tremendous efforts of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) and to make the little know Sun Bear famous in Stuarts Point and Scotts Head!!!" You can read more about Stuarts Point Pre School and their sun bear project here: http://enhancedlearningspps.blogspot.com.au/p/our-sun-bear-project.html
The very first sun bear project was to introduce the sun bears to the children:
Tuesday 29th January,
Today we introduced the little known Sun Bear to the children, we drew their attention to the Sun Bear's special markings on their chest explaining how the markings look like a sun. We also told the children about the Sun Bear's plight and of how the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Borneo helps rehabilitate rescued Sun Bear's who were taken from their mummy's and put in small cages. This part the children did not like so much and asked: "Why did they get taken?"
Few days later:
"Thursday 31st January,
Today we continued exploring sun bears... We have found it difficult to get some children to relate to the sun bear... so today we tried sparking their interest by viewing images of sun bear teddy bears and then inviting the children to participate in a guided drawing experience..."
On Thursday 21st February, the preschool did a "Sun Bear Fundraiser" by selling "Grub cakes" and "Ant slice"
With all the hard works from the teachers and children, they sold all of their cakes for the day and had a success fundraiser experience!
On Monday 4 March. 2013, the children had a "skyping the sun bears" experience with me. After the children built and painted a sun bear rainforest habitat in the school, they managed to have a skype with me at the observation platform of BSBCC. The children got to see the sun bear "live" from BSBCC forest enclosure (although the bears were far from my laptop and the images of the bear appeared to be small). The children were excited to see me and the sun bears on their computer. I am having a lot of fun answering the questions that the children asked:
Charlotte: "Do the babies have big yellow marks on their chest too?"
Aiken: "Do Sun Bears build tree houses?"
Matilda: "Do the Sun Bears bite?"
Malu: "Do they have spikey hair"
Asher: "Why do the Sun Bears get locked in cages?"
The images and voices from the sun bears were spread across the world through skype. Thanks to the technology, additional group of children know more about sun bear and their plights. They will grow up knowing more about the sun bears and the conservation issues about the rainforest of SE Asia.
We hope we could do this skype call more often with each other.
I hope other school across the world can also "visit" us, "see" the sun bears "digitally" at BSBCC and learn more about the sun bear. Even better, visit us "physically" next year when we officially open to the public!
Slowly but surely, sun bear the little known bear in the world will become a well known bear!
If you miss Wong's talk at TEDxKL 2012, here is the chance to view it youtube:
Please remember to share it! Together we can make sun bear become the most well known bear!
The 5th Kuala Lumpur Eco Film Festival is back with its annual celebration of award-winning environmental films, inspiring and motivating eco-themed workshops, talks/forums, exhibition of grassroots environmental organizations and their cause(s), and even an eco-drum circle performance.
We would love to grab you attention on the premiere of "Big Dream Little Bears" - a 50 minute documentary that gives a rare glimpse into the mysterious island of Borneo and an insider’s view of a ten-year dream to save the smallest bears on earth. Directed by Howard Jackson and produced by Dr Audrey Low, the documentary is an uplifting, often funny, story of one man’s determined dream to save the smallest, least studied and, pound for pound, most dangerous bears on earth.
Come watch the film for FREE on October 14th, 6 pm, at the Experimental Theater, University Malaya and meet the director, producer and STAR of the film and get engaged in issues related to conservation.
Come join me and the rest and indulge in a fun and inspiring weekend at the Festival! Don't forget to bring your RECYCLABLES to donate (old unused clothes, kids' toys, etc) or recycle and walk home with some amazing goodies from Tanamera Tropical Spa Products.
EcoKnights cordially invites
to the premiere of
Big Dream Little Bears
presented by wildlife biologist, Wong Siew Te
and the film maker of the film, Dr. Audrey Low and director Howard Jackson.
Date: 14th October 2012 (Sunday)
Time: 6:00 pm
Venue: Experimental Theatre, Universiti Malaya
Kindly RSVP before 5th October 2012
Contact: Ms. Dania Amani
Contact No: +603 - 7728 9799 / +6016 - 2966 225
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
in conjunction with:
About Kuala Lumpur Eco Film Festival
The prestigious Kuala Lumpur Eco Film Festival is one of the country’s best film festivals and is an annual gathering for environmental activists, film industry insiders, cinema enthusiasts, filmmakers and critics. KLEFF is considered a major launching ground for the most talked-about environment-themed films. Founded in 2008 by local and grassroots environmental organization, EcoKnights, Kuala Lumpur Eco Film Festival, presented in the Experimental Theatre, is a three-day international educational event celebrating the art of environmental film making and environmental advocacy. Kuala Lumpur Eco Film Festival’s long-standing commitment is to join filmmakers, environmentalists and film connoisseurs together to experience great cinema. The exciting schedule consists of over two dozen local and international filmmakers presenting their newest works, free workshops for the public, eco-music performances, talks, forums and remarkable discounts on eco-friendly products and services.
About Our Sponsors
Kuala Lumpur Eco Film Festival is supported Maybank Foundation, University Malaya, UM Cares, Astro, Natural Health, Tanamera Tropical Spa and Products, Nokia, Dockers Malaysia, Canon, Palate Palette, Green Drinks KL, Ecocentric Transitions, Greenovate, the Goethe Institute Malaysia, Bumi Hijau and international festival partner, View Fest 2012.
Text by Siew Te Wong
"Come Mary my girl, come...." was the first sentence I said when I stood on the stage of TEDxKL last Saturday on July 14th. The 800+ audiences who were in the theater of Temple of Fine Arts at Brickfield, Kuala Lumpur, stretched their neck, anticipated to see Mary the sun bear walking on stage. I then clicked to my first slide: a photo of me and Mary the sun bear took last May when I walk her in the forest!
No, I did not bring Mary the sun bear to the stage of TEDxKL, instead I showed the photo of Mary the sun bear! I began my talk by asking the audiences if they know about sun bear before this TED's talk. From the stage, I saw about one third of the audience raised their hands. I then asked if they know about giant panda, a cute black and white bear from China, I saw almost EVERYONE raised their hand.
This is the problem that sun bear faced today. After 187 years sun bears was first described to the scientific world by American naturalist Thomas Horsfield in 1825, there are many people in the world still do not know much about a species of bear call sun bear. I therefore name the title of my TEDxKL talk as "Malayan sun bear: our long forgotten bear!"
TED was started in 1984 as a small conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design, to talk about how their ideas come together. Since then, the scope of TED has become even broader. TEDx is a program of local, self- organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x=independently organized TED event. TEDxKL was the locally organized TED talks held in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia.
The theme of this year TEDxKL conference is "Interdependence". Sun bear is a good subject to show "interdependency" of sun bear and other forest residents, plants, animal, and all other organisms. All of these live forms, human included, are interdependence of each other to maintain a healthy forest ecosystem and better environment. By telling the sad story of Mary, I talk about the threats of sun bears and how Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre is trying to help this little known bear.
At the end of the talk, I official launched the documentary "Big Dream Little Bear" which is now available online at http://distrify.com/films/597-big-dream-little-bears and our new BSBCC website http://www.bsbcc.org.my/. Big Dream Little Bear is the best example of "do what you do best to help sun bear" which was produced, filmed, directed, narrated by Howard Jackson and Audrey Low from Wildhoop Productions.
It was a great honor for me to be invited to give a talk at TEDxKL last weekend. It was an eye opening event to be able to listen to 12 others speakers' talks and learned from their experience and great works. I sincerely thank the organizer for this opportunity to talk about sun bear in front of so many live audiences last weekend and many more across the world who will view the video online. I simply cannot wait until the video is available online.
TEDxKL, you are awesome!
Tuesday July 10, 2012Talking bears
WONG Siew Te will be sharing his passion for sun bear conservation at the TEDxKL event on Saturday in Kuala Lumpur. He will be joining six other speakers who will all be talking on different topics; what brings them together is that they all have a passion that they want to share with anyone who will listen.
Among the other presenters at Saturday’s event are entrepreneur and philanthropist Derek Sivers, entrepreneur Myshkin Ingawale, nanotechnology expert Dr Ille Gebershuber, writer-actor-director Jo Kukathas, photographer Zann Huang, architect and designer Kevin Mark Low, Sinar Project co-founder Khairil Yusof, and comedian Kavin Jayaram.
* For more story in The Star today.
Tuesday July 10, 2012
Papa bear’s story
By GRACE CHEN
One man shares his passion for a little-known bear in need of saving.
THE worry in Wong Siew Te’s voice is obvious during our telephone interview. The founder of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sandakan, Sabah, had walked in to work to find Manis, a 12-year-old sun bear, lying motionless in her cage. According to Wong, no amount of coaxing could make her move.
Papa bear at work: Wong Siew Te, founder of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sandakan, Sabah, will share his insights about savng this threatened animal at the TEDxKL conference this month. — Photo by Cede Prudente
Manis and Wong go back a long way. He prefers not to divulge details but of what is known, Manis was rescued from a pet owner. To Wong, it does not matter how the owner had treated Manis. Keeping sun bears, or any endangered animal for that matter, is illegal.
“It all boils down to the way they are acquired. The most common way is through the wildlife market. This means someone will have to go into the jungle to hunt for it. In the process, the hunter may have to kill the mother. It’s a vicious circle,” says Wong, 43.
While her living conditions improved tremendously when the centre rescued her, isn’t Manis still a pet in a cage, though?
* For more story in The Star today.
TEDxKualaLumpurIdeas Worth Sharing 14 July 2012 - Interdependence
Wong Siew TeBy admin on May 24, 2012in 2012, Speakers
Sun Bear Conservationist:
Known as the Sun Bear Man in some circles, Siew Te is in the midst of setting up the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) in Sabah. The project aims to save the oft-overlooked animals through research, education, rehabilitation and habitat conservation. His efforts are backed by the Wildlife Conservation Network, an innovative group that uses a venture capital model to protect some of the world’s most endangered species.
TEDxKL is happening on 14th of July 2012. Our theme is inspired by TED Speaker Tiffany Shlain's talk in last years TED Women. TEDxKL 2012’s theme “Interdependence”, where we seek to explore how every single entity, no matter how distinct or conflicted they may be, plays a role in each other’s survival, development, progress or change.
Published on Jun 30, 2012 by savingrhinos
Annamiticus presents "Behind the Schemes" -- a web series and podcast which discusses how commerce, corruption, and counterfeit cures are destroying our Planet's precious wildlife. In this episode, host Rhishja Cota-Larson is getting "A Bear's Eye View of Sun Bears" with Siew Te Wong, founder and CEO of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre.
Join us each week as we feature international guests discussing the challenges of protecting wildlife in the modern world.
Learn more about our web series "Behind the Schemes" at ?http://behindtheschemes.org? and subscribe to the BTS podcast on iTunes: ?http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/behind-the-schemes/id508618386?
Text and Photos by Siew Te Wong
The 2nd day of the Sun Bear Rock Fund and awareness raising event has moved to University Malayan, the oldest and prestigious university in Malaysia on Sunday April 22nd. The event is part of the Universiti Malaya's Earth Week in conjunction with the Earth Day 2012 and was co-organized by UM-Cares, SPAS, MNS, BSBCC, EcoKnights, Rockin'4 the Environment, and SGM.
The events started at 10 am with a series of talks on recycling and sustainable lifestyle. The next highlight of the day was the screening of the latest green film "One day on Earth". After that I gave a talk on "Sun Bears, the forgotten bears". After my talk the audience was entertain with the Sun Bear Rock musical events where several bands were performing.
EcoKnights Yasmin Rasyid introducing "One day on Earth"
Kenny Peavy introduced the Sun Bear Rock and my talk on the sun bearsI am trying my best to tell the audience who special the sun bears are. They are simply amazing bears!