Text by Genevie Gikun
Photos by Tee Thye Lim
Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) founded by CEO Wong Siew Te has made history today by successfully holding a soft opening. The BSBCC is now officially open to the public. The ceremony was attended by Sabah Forestry Department director Datuk Sam Mannan, Sabah Wildlife Department director Datuk Dr. Laurentius Ambu, Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP) executive director and chief executive officer Cynthia Ong. The ceremony ran for 4 hours and each VIP had a chance to give some of their thoughts through speeches. Datuk Ambu said the centre will help to raise awareness about sun bears among the public and also increase enforcement efforts to ban all poaching activity of the sun bear as well as the illegal pet and body part trade. Meanwhile, Ms. Ong on her speech described the soft opening as a “landmark moment” and thanked all people who worked hard for the opening of the centre. Datuk Mannan on the other hand strongly agreed the opening of the centre is to care for the orphaned and confiscated sun bears. Mr. Wong in his speech stressed the importance of the sun bear and its forest habitat. He also mentioned that the long term focus of the centre would be research and rehabilitation. The centre will open daily from 9am to 3.30pm. Entry fees are fixed at RM2 and RM5 for Malaysians between the ages 12-17 and above the age of 17 respectively. The entry fees for non-Malaysians are RM15 and RM30 between the ages 12-17 and above the age of 17 respectively. Admission is free for all children under the age of 12 and senior citizen above the age of 55. The BSBCC soft opening ran smoothly and we are now looking forward to the grand opening that will be held in May this year.
Inside the visitor centre the public will be mesmerized by one big aquarium tank. The aquarium is called the Educational Nature Aquarium was decorated by Mr. Wong himself. The theme is a Bornean rainforest stream. The message the public will get from the Educational Nature Aquarium is to care for the fresh water ecosystem. The plants, which function to filter the water and make it clear, are collected locally around the centre. Our centre hopes to raise awareness with the Educational Nature Aquarium to give the public an insight on this kind of unique ecosystem.