Virtual talks on sun bear upkeep

Wawa is one of the rescued sun bears in BSBCC. Every sun bear has a unique chest mark. © BSBCC / Seng Yen Wah.

KUCHING: World Wide Fund for Nature Malaysia (WWF-Malaysia) will be hosting a virtual talk on sun bear conservation in Sarawak and Sabah tomorrow (Nov 28).

The talk aims at increasing the public’s awareness and sense of appreciation for sun bear conservation and garnering more support towards the protection of this species and their habitat.

Scheduled to start at 9am, the 90-minute talk features on Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) founder and chief executive officer Dr Wong Siew Te who has dedicated his life in conserving the smallest bear species in the world.

It will focus on sun bears’ ecology and behaviour. Other than that, Dr Wong will also share the sun bear conservation work of BSBCC, Sandakan, Sabah through an exclusive virtual tour. The centre takes care of sun bears that have been rescued from illegal collections.

Sun bear rescue is not easy work, as one has to handle a strong mammal. This year has been a challenging year for BSBCC.

“One of our major sources of revenue is fees collected from visitors or tourists but the Covid-19 pandemic has deprived us of this income. We need funds to run the centre especially for the care of the rescued sun bears, until things go back to normal,” said Dr Wong.

Let’s hear about sun bears from Dr Wong at 9am today (Nov 28) via WWF-Malaysia Facebook live streaming.

The Bornean sun bear is also known as honey bear and referred to by the scientific name of Helarctos malayanus euryspilus. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of threatened species, sun bears are vulnerable to extinction, but can still be found in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Eastern India and Bangladesh.

Sun bears are keystone species that play many important ecological roles in the forest ecosystems. They act as seed dispersers, engage in pest control, and help in nutrient cycling in the forests.

These sun bears are facing a number of threats, such as habitat loss from forest conversion, unsustainable logging and infrastructure developments, as well as commercial hunting and illegal pet trade.

Keeping, trading or killing sun bear are prohibited under the Sarawak Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1998 and Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997.

Join WWF-Malaysia’s Facebook live streaming at www.facebook.com/wwfmy to learn more about sun bear conservation from Dr Wong from BSBCC. For more information on sun bear conservation work, please visit BSBCC’s website at www.bsbcc.org.my.

Little Kipaku, a rescued sun bear in BSBCC, uses his extremely long claws and strong teeth to tear up logs. Photo © BSBCC / Chiew Lin May.