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Every great project in the world starts from a dream. For me, Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre was a dream that I dreamed some 6 years ago after seeing so many captive sun bears suffering in small cages and knowing most people were completely naïve and clueless about their plights or anything about this bear. At first it seems like a mission impossible to raise such a huge amount of money for a species that are so little known and the global economic crisis. The key successes to kick start this project in the first place was because of the immense supports from Cynthia Ong and Nancy Abraham from LEAP, and Dr. Laurentius Ambu and Datuk Sam Manan, Directors of Sabah Wildlife Department and Sabah Forestry Department, respectively. Without their help and supports in the first place, this project will not go anywhere.
The next step of the project was to strategize ways to raise fund. Dividing the construction of the centre into 3 phases would speed up the project, at least, we could improve the livelihood of the captive bears without a long waiting to raise the entire fund needed: Phase 1 be the construction of the first Bear House 1 and the 4 forest enclosures; Phase 2 be the construction of visitor gallery, observation platform and renovating the past of existing building as office ; and finally, Phase 3 as the construction of the second Bear House 2 and additional 4 forest enclosures.
After 2 years of planning, fund raising, and constructing, Phase 1 is finally completed on March 2010. The 12 sun bears we had currently will be moved to the new bear house starting on April. This is an exited moment that everyone, including the sun bears, have been long waiting for. For me, this is a very important accomplishment and also the beginning of my new career. For the captive sun bears, the moment when they finally re-united with the forest where they truly belong, means the beginning of a new era for sun bear conservation. From now on, they can re-experience what was long missing in their life: touching the soil, feeling the trees, and getting wet by the tropical rain. In the same time, we could learn more about them, care more about them, and provide more helps to them.
The completion of Phase 1 also means the beginning of Phase 2. Phase 2 hold the key for the success of the entire project because only with the completion of the Phase 2 that we could open the facility for the public and visitors to learn more about sun bear and have more personal experience with them. At the same time, we could also generate revenue from ticketing and collect donation to make our project self sustain and viable.
Again, back to the dream. Now the dream of Phase 1 has completed, and the dream of getting Phase 2 done is just begun.
Thank you everyone for being with us all these time to give hands and supports when we needed most. This project is belongs to all of us who shared the same dream – the dream of providing the unfortunate captive sun bears a better home, the dream of learning more about this little known species, and the dream of helping the sun bears from disappearing from SE Asia.
So, to all sun bear lovers and supporters, this is our plan for Phase 2 of the BSBCC: