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GROUND-BREAKING CEREMONY on Friday, 17th July, 2009 at 9:00 am
The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) ground-breaking ceremony on 17th July 2009, at BSBCC Phase I site adjacent to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre near Sandakan represents the beginning of construction of this three-phased project. The project is a partnership between the Sabah Wildlife Department, the Sabah Forestry Department and the NGO LEAP. The Guest of Honour for the event is YB Datuk Masidi Manjun, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, and the programme will include the ceremony at the site of the new bear house and forested enclosures as well as a chance to view some of the Sun Bears currently at the Centre. This ground-breaking signifies the start of Phase I of construction of the Centre and marks a significant step in the establishment of a new home for captive Sun Bears in Sabah, where they will have daily access to the forest and an enriched environment, as well as improved, custom built night quarters. Phase I, which is expected to be completed in six months from the date of ground-breaking, involves the construction of a new bear house with capacity for 27 bears (each individual cages) and an adjacent one-hectare forest enclosure within the Kabili-Sepilok Virgin Jungle Reserve. Please see Phase I site plan for layout. The finished centre will have capacity for43 bears, two-hectare forest enclosures, a visitor centre, an observation gallery and a nature trail. Please see Phase I, II & III site plan for layout. The larger vision is for the bears to be in an environment which will prepare suitable ones for eventual release into appropriate wild habitat.RM1.3 million was raised at the Bear Necessities fundraising dinner in Kota Kinabalu in November last year, with RM650,000 from the private sector and a government match of one-to-one. These funds will go directly to the funding of Phase I. Efforts are now underway to raise funds for both Phase II (RM600,000) and Phase III (RM900,000), and the hope is that these phases will follow up on the completion of Phase I.
The event will be a gathering of BSBCC partners – Sabah Wildlife Department, Sabah Forestry Department and LEAP, private sector donors and supporters from the Bear Necessities event, building contractor and consultants, and BATs – Bear Action Teams volunteer partners from international organisations such as Raleigh International. The programme will comprise welcome speech by BSBCC Director Cynthia Ong, audio message from BSBBC CEO Wong Siew Te (currently completing his PhD in Montana, U.S.A.), speech by Guest of Honour YB Datuk Masidi Manjun, song dedications by Malaysian singers Shayna Zaid and Amir Yussof, and a “Mongimpi” cleansing and blessing ritual by Bobohizans of the Kadazan tradition.
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