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.