Happy New Year everyone!
It is time to say goodbye to 2018 and welcome the new year of 2019. It is also the time for our tenth anniversary of efforts at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, and moving to the next 10-year era. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support and help over the past 10 years, and wish you all the best in 2019!
Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) had a wonderful and productive year in 2018.We have helped Sabah Wildlife Department in the handling of 60 sun bear rescues over the past 10 years, with 45 rescued sun bears currently housed at BSBCC. In 2018, BSBCC received four sun bears; three rescued as house pets, and a conflict bear from Abai area. In 2018, we successfully released two adult female sun bears, Damai and Debbie, who had been with us since they were little, into the Tabin Wildlife Reserve and have been monitoring their movements for several months. We also released a conflict sun bear back to Abai and are monitoring his whereabouts since his release.
2018 marks the fourth year we have been open to the public. Our visitor numbers have been increasing gradually over the past four years, reaching more than 76,000 in 2018. Besides educating visitors on sun bears and their plights, we also hosted 70 school groups consisting of 2242 students and teachers, who visited our centre to learn more about sun bears. In 2018, BSBCC also recruited 109 volunteers from 9 countries, and 15 interns from 7 institutions to help us take care of the rescued sun bears and maintain the facilities. Our media coverage includes 53 newspaper articles and several magazines and TV programs. In short, 2018 was an awesome year and you were the big reason behind our success! Thank you so much for being with us!
Looking into the New Year, we hope to implement several ambitious plans. The long expected BSBCC Gateway Building will begin construction in 2019, as federal funding has recently being allocated to the Sabah Wildlife Department. We will begin the planning of our new quarantine building with bear den, and a veterinary clinic to provide better care for our rescued bears. We will embark on the Tabin Sun Bear Project, a long term research, rehabilitation and anti-poaching project based in Tabin Wildlife Reserve, and will dedicate even more efforts on conservation issues for wild sun bears . We also will organize the 2nd Sun Bear Symposium later in 2019, and hope to develop a 10 year action plan for the sun bear in Sabah and the region. All and all, we have many plans to ensure the long term survival of the sun bear.
As BSBCC is now becoming more and more established, the next ten years will represent a crucial period in really achieving things. Poaching and illegal wildlife trade are now the biggest threats for all remaining wildlife across Southeast Asia, including the sun bear in Malaysia. We have to do everything that we can a to save them, if we wish to ensure their survival in the future. Government agencies, biologists, NGOs, local communities and stakeholders, all play important roles in the conservation of sun bears and other precious wildlife.
Like all conservation projects, our projects will be neither easy nor cheap, and will always pose new challenges. On August 2018, a severe wind storm blew down many big trees and damaged our centre’s second observation platform, as well as the perimeter fencing of the bear enclosures in the forest. Luckily there were neither bear nor human casualties. We have spent more than RM170, 000 to repair the damages within a few months. This is just one of the many challenges we often face in running the centre. In order for us to implement all of our plans successfully, we need to work together to achieve our goals. All BSBCC staff, myself included, are committed to taking excellent care of our rescued bears, to continuing our good work to raise awareness and to helping maintain sun bear populations. However, we still need your help to make our work possible. Everyone is encouraged to help us spread the word, raise funds, and contribute time and energy as volunteers. You can visit our website at www.bsbcc.org.my or on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to hear our latest news and stories. You can also donate to us online at http://www.bsbcc.org.my/donate.html to help our work be possible. Together, we can help save the sun bears and make a better world for all beings on the planet we all call home – Earth!
Once again, I wish you a Happy New Year! May the New Year bring happiness, joyfulness, peacefulness, and refuge to all beings on Earth!
Dr (Hon) Wong Siew Te, D.J.N.
C.E.O. and Founder