The Next Step- Phase 2 of Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

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:


Sun Bear Video Blog 5- interview Leslie Small at Taronga Zoo

Dr Audrey Low interviews Lesley Small, ‘Senior Keeper, Carnivores’, at Sydney’s Taronga Park Zoo. Director, Edito

Leslie Small, is a very special animal keeper from Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia. She has been taking care of the two sun bears in the zoo for many years. Leslie contacted me about sun bear husbandry questions many years ago and we stay communicated regularly there after. Believe me or not, although years of communication, this is the first time that I see Leslie and hear her voice. However, this is all not important. What is important is Leslie has a special heart for sun bears, the species that she cares for all these years. She has help and tries hard to help us fund raising and help raise awareness about sun bears.

If you are a regular visitor of this wildlife direct blog, you can see Leslie is the one of the very few visitor who donates to our cause in a monthly basis.

Thank you Leslie! I hope I can meet you in person one day and give you many big hugs! r – Howard Jackson.

Sun Bear Video Blog 3

Here is the 3rd part of the Sun Bear sun bear video blog by Audrew and Howard.

Please read more about the story at http://sunbears.wildlifedirect.org/2010/01/31/it-all-started-with-an-email%e2%80%a6/

Soon the rescued sun bears will be in their new home. Next step – save the wild sun bears from extinction. Siew Te Wong and Dr. Audrey Low begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting discuss the upcoming relocation. Exciting times. The culmination of years of work for Wong and so many others. Hope!

You can read more about Howard and Audrey in their blogs at:



Finally, Phase 1 of BSBCC construction is done!

After 8 months of non-stop of hardwork under hot tropical sun and pouring rainforest’s rain by the construction workers, volunteers, and supervision of the contractors and architects, the first Bear House and the 4 forested enclosures of BSBCC are finally done! This is the first achievement of BSBCC and I would like to thank everyone who has help us in so many ways to raise fund, raise awareness, spread the words of our cause, help us taking care of the bears, and also physically build the bear house and the forest enclosure.

With the completion of Phase 1, we are also entering Phase 2, which, at this point still lack of funding to start the construction. However, the completion of the bear house means a lot to the captive sun bears currently under our care because they can finally have a better living environment with access to natural forest. In addition, with the extra cages, we can start rescue the other captive sun bears across the state and bring them into our care.

It has been 6 years since Dr Sen Nathan and I talking about this project. Six year is a long time for us to come this far and six years is a long time for the bears to wait for the new home. I feel sorry that these bears have to wait for so long for a better home. However, I have tried very hard to make this project come this far, again, thanks to many people, especially Cynthia Ong and Nancy Abraham, who give us a lot of supports and helps.

Without your help, this project would not come this far.

Without your support, the construction of this bear house would not have been completed.

March 22nd is the official “hand back over” day of the buildings from the contractor to BSBCC, the opposite of the “hand over” from us to the contractor to start building some 8 months ago. On this day, BSBCC will move into a new era by helping individual sun bears, and later, expend the helps to their population in the wild and finally the species.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present you the new bear house of BSBCC! The building plan showing Bear House 1 and the 4 forested enclosures.

The perimeter of the forest enclosure is a belian wood and chain link fence, reinforced with electric wire.

The bear house is linked to a 1 ha forest enclosure. Chain link fence was used to divide the enclosure into 4 separate pens for different bear age and sex groups.

A hot-wired training pen is located at one end of the building. This pen will be used to train the bears to stay away from the electric fencing in the forest enclosures.

A food tray holder and stainless steel water container are affixed in each bear cage. A sliding door allows bears to move from cage to cage. The floor is leveled and painted with epoxy paint.

A guillotine door system is also used to allow bears access to the forest enclosures. Bear sleeping basket on the right.

A guillotine door system is used to transfer bears in and out between the translocation cage and the living cages.

There are 20 individual bear cages inside the new bear house. The transparent roof allows natural light. The planned recycled wooden material for the walk way was changed to metal mesh to ensure better hygiene. The walk way is part of the air ventilation for the building.

Bear food preparation area.

Water tanks for direct water and rain water storage. The dome-shaped cement structure (centre) is the biogas digester, which will collect methane gas for cooking bear food.

Gravel road and drainage system in front of the building.

New bear house is built at site of the old rhino pen. Behind is the 1 ha forest enclosure.


Running for the sun bears! – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation

Running for the sun bears! – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation

Maren Dallman will support Ursa Freedom Project’s charity cause by raising money for the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre when she races in the Reading Half Marathon in Berkshire, England on Sunday, March 21. Maren said she is supporting the sun bears because “this little bear is nearly as close to extinction as the panda but hardly anyone knows of their existence. The sooner the centre is completed the better for the bears, and I want to do what I can to help ”

Maren’s goal is to raise $2 per mile (13 miles), and another $1 per mile if she beats her personal record of 1hr 59mins. Let’s help her reach her charity goal to save the sun bears.

Please visit Maren UFP member page at http://ursafreedomproject.ning.com/profile/MarenDallmann?xg_source=profiles_memberList


I am running for the Sun Bears on March 21 and want to raise as much as possible. As you know the money is desperately needed to complete the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre and anything you can afford would be much appreciated

My aim for the race is to beat my personal best for a half marathon of 1 hour 59 minutes. Maybe you could pledge an additional amount if I achieve this :-)

Donations can be made via facebook causes:

or on the BSBCC site:

It would be nice to know how much I have raised, so maybe you could just send me a brief message

Thank you so much on behalf of the sun bears!!!!

Wong’s notes:

Like Anna, Julie, and many other who take real action to run for sun bear, Maren’s action is really touching to me. I hope there is a way to tell the sun bears at BSBCC that someone like Maren is working hard to fund raise for them. Thank you Maren. I hope many people will show their help and donate to our course!

Maren has take action to make a difference, how about you? Can you help?


Ursa Freedom Project’s 2010 charity cause is the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation

Ursa Freedom Project’s 2010 charity cause is the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation

Ursa Freedom Project is a global action network of passionate people working to prevent bears from going extinct.. It is a new independent project driven by people who are passionate about conserving bears and their habitat.

Founded last year by Jeanette McDermott, Ursa Freedom Project’s mission is to collaborate with others to give voice to the world’s bears through story and art so they may grow into a larger collective destiny with humans to heal their circumstances.

UFP focus
Six of the world’s eight bear species are threatened with extinction as a result of human activities. Even “least concern” species such as the brown bear are at risk of extirpation in certain countries. Many threats face each bear species, making strategies for local conservation necessary.

UFP strategy

UFP collaborates with organizations and individuals to assist on-the-ground conservation efforts in local communities. We enfold bears into story so their voice is heard and validated — an act that allows bears to be received into culture and their lives transformed through acceptance. UFP advocates to conserve bears and their habitat and to free bears from persecution and exploitation by unleashing the power of knowledge and collective visualization to open hearts to understanding, wisdom, compassion and tolerance.

This year Ursa Freedom Project has made the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre its charity cause for 2010, with a goal to focus attention on the species and raise funds to change its circumstance. On behalf of BSBCC, I would like to express my sincere thanks to Ursa Freedom Project, especially Jeanette, for their helps and support sun bear and BSBCC.

Please visit http://ursafreedomproject.ning.com/ and be part of the family of Ursa Freedom Project. This is the site where individuals can combine efforts to make a difference for bears and their habitat. This is a very simple action where anyone can participate and get involve to save bears and to help mother nature for a better tomorrow.

Please join Ursa Freedom Project! We need you!

Save Our Tigers | YouTube

Save Our Tigers YouTube


Popular zoo has tame front but may hide 'wild' activities

Popular zoo has tame front but may hide 'wild' activities


IT brands itself as a zoo and brags about the conservation works it does. It also proudly talks of its educational role in highlighting the plight of endangered species.

But behind its animal-loving front, this popular private establishment in the southern part of Peninsula Malaysia could be one of the worst examples of a successful commercial enterprise riding on the back of exploiting, breeding and trading in endangered animals.

This zoo, like several others, has earned a name for itself by announcing the birth of new tiger cubs to coincide with major events like the Lunar New Year, or even to commemorate the death of celebrities like Michael Jackson.

To many, it’s the perfect zoo. The beautiful cubs hog airtime and newsprint space, and the tills get filled by the long lines of visitors.

The Year of the Tiger promises to be a boon for the zoo.

A visit before Chinese New Year revealed that one of its tigresses is pregnant. The zoo also allows tiger cub to be hired and this has been a hit with many companies in the Tiger Year.

“We’re fully booked until year-end,” says the zoo keeper proudly. “People are willing to pay between RM1,000 and RM5,000 to ‘borrow’ a tiger cub for a day.”

He says the zoo has two cubs but only the eight-month-old is used for roadshows. Such activities have conservationists up in arms.

To have perfectly timed cubs require the adult tigers to be subjected to “controlled mating”. This as well as the “tiger cubs for hire” schemes are considered heinous and hardly in line with conservation.

The legality of the “rent a tiger cubs” schemes are also questionable. The zoo claims to have the requisite permits from the Wildlife and National Park Department (Perhilitan) for everything it does but are these possible.

Perhilitan had to step in following a spate of pre-Chinese New Year publicity from establishments with tigers promoting photo sessions.

The zoo keeper confirms department’s order for such sessions to stop: “We have been told to hold on until further notice.”

The zoo’s justification is of course pure economics. “The money is needed to feed the animals,” the keeper says. He says the zoo’s Year of the Tiger roadshow could bring in enough revenue to cover expenses for six months.

“Photography sessions in the zoo would further contribute to 50% of the tigers’ maintenance costs,” he adds.

Another worrying result from the zoo’s breeding programme is the creation of mixed-breed tigers which Perhilitan has acknowledged as “worthless” in terms of conservation.

The Guidelines for Zoological Gardens prohibits the cross-breeding of species but this does not seem to concern the zoo keeper.

He says the zoo is allowed to carry out tiger breeding programme, again under a special permit issued to it by Perhilitan.

He says the zoo currently has 24 tigers and reproduction is controlled by having four pairs of breeding animals. As each pair is allowed to mate twice a year, the average newborns will be 32 cubs annually.

“Over the years, we have been cross-breeding them,” says the keeper. “Yeah, there’s a lot of new sub-species created in this way.” He nevertheless admits that the hybrid specimens produced by the zoo can never be released into the wild, dashing any claims to the zoo playing a conservation role.

Questions to Perhilitan such as if the special permit covered the offsprings and if the breeders are obliged to keep a record of its breeding programme were left unanswered.

Neither was the issue of why a zoo which talks of the need to raise money be allowed to operate a breeding facility.

There are also concerns of whether the zoo is involved in the trading of endangered species.

Asked if the zoo has ever sold cubs to anyone, the keeper merely answers that there is a market for tiger cubs and they could easily fetch between RM15,000 and RM30,000 per animal.

He acknowledges that the zoo has supplied three young tigers to another facility before.

Asked if money crossed hands, the keeper says: “That’s between my boss and them.” A spokesman from the other facility said its special permit was acquired through a subsidiary and the animals were obtained under an exchange programme. He, however, did not reveal what animals were exchanged.

The zoo has a run-down feel to it.

And, there is very little educational elementinvolved. Signage is poor and many contained misinformation or just the basic name of the animals behind bars.

Ruler bans hunting of wildlife

Ruler bans hunting of wildlife

Friday March 5, 2010

Ruler bans hunting of wildlife



JOHOR BARU: There will be no more hunting in the state, Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almar­hum Sultan Iskandar decreed.

He said the ban was necessary to protect the wildlife especially protected species from decreasing or going extinct. Sultan Ibrahim said that besides tigers, the ban includes bears, deer, mousedeer, tapir and porcupines.

“The poaching of these animals are so cruel. Eating one tiger claw will not make you have tiger strength for months,” he said referring to beliefs that consuming certain animal parts would help boost virility.

He stressed that if wild animals were causing a nuisance to people or farmers, they should inform the Johor Wildlife Department (Perhilitan).

“We can organise shooters for wild boars or crows,” he said, adding that a meeting would be held with Perhitilitan to enforce the ruling immediately.

“I want to protect the wildlife in Johor and those caught poaching should be jailed,” he told The Star in an exclusive interview at his Istana Pasir Pelangi here yesterday.

Sultan Ibrahim said he was breeding several animals like tigers, panthers and deers with the intention of releasing them into the jungle.

Sultan Ibrahim has 400 deer, 12 Siberian, Indian and Bengal tigers as well as panthers.

He also has six tiger cubs as a result of his breeding programme.

“I am trying to protect wildlife here including starting a rehabilitation centre for deer in central Johor,” he said, adding that he also hoped to work with the World Wildlife Foundation.

Sultan Ibrahim said he had informers who would report to him if people continued hunting.

He also wanted the procedures for the issuance of gun licences in the state to be tightened.

He warned those who misused their gun licences that he would not hesitate to get the authorities to revoke their licences and seize their guns.

“The police must assist and conduct roadblocks in places known to be famous for hunting to ensure no one flouts the law,” he added.