Goodbye Missoula! Tonight is the last night – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Goodbye Missoula! Tonight is the last night – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Sunset in Missoula

Sunset in Missoula

Goodbye Missoula! Tonight is the last night It all begun here in Missoula, Montana, USA, 17 years ago when I first came to the University of Montana in the summer of 1994 to pursue my first degree (B.Sc) in wildlife biology. It was here where I met my advisor Dr. Chris Servheen, whom at that time was looking for a Malaysian student to conduct a study on sun bear ecology in Malaysia. The meeting with Chris changed my life thereafter- I conducted the very first ecological study of sun bear for my M.Sc degree and then follow by my PhD study, both under the supervision of Chris. In 2008, because of all the work and love on sun bears, I founded the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sabah, Malaysia Borneo. After 17 years studying, training, and working in the field, I finally finished my prolong higher education, and wrapped up my stay in Missoula tonight.

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Winter in Missoula with my family

Goodbye Missoula! Tonight is the last night I spend in this little town of Missoula in a mountain valley of the Rocky Mountain. A heavy snow storm hit this part of the Rockies this morning, pouring half a foot of snow, making my final moving and cleaning of the townhouse apartment where my family and I stayed for the last 2.5 years difficult, but did not deter the moving process. It is here in Missoula that I first learn about how friendly and kind people can be to each other. In Missoula, people greed each others; bus drivers greet all passengers when they hop into the bus, and wish them have a very good day when they take off the bus; friends give each other big bear hugs when saying goodbye. It is here in Missoula, my family and I received tremendous helps and supports from many friends from the university, and local church communities. To me, these friends are not just friends; they are my family, my brothers and sisters, my parents, my grandparents, and my children. My family and I would like to thank John and Barbara, Jolinda and Ben, the late Pat and Dick Taber, Ted and Carol, Sam and Tammy, CK and Hui Ling, Mei Hui and Dr. Hao, Vincent and Wai Fong, Jedediah, Rosa, Mei Hua, Emma, Andrew, Sim, Rita and Tyron, Chris, Rebecca and Kate, Dan, Jeanne, Effie, River, and all our friends from International Student Christian Fellowship and Taiwanese Student Association, teachers and friends from Lewis and Clark School, and many more, for their friendship, kinship, kindness, helps and support to me and my family. We will never forget you all!

Farewell party for me and my family organized by friends, no, family in Missoula.

Farewell party for me and my family organized by friends, no, family in Missoula.

End of year dinner and farewell dinner by UM Taiwanese Student Association

End of year dinner and farewell dinner by UM Taiwanese Student Association

I had a productive stay in Missoula. In this little town at the foothill of Mt Sentinel, I produced 5 certificates; three certificates from University of Montana- home to the Grizzlies, and two birth certificates of my two lovely daughters Winnie and Evelyn. Missoula is a very special place to me, both my personal life and my professional and academic life. I am considering myself as Missoulian!


University of Montana, home of the Montana Grizzlies

Tonight is the last night my family and I spend in Missoula. Tomorrow we will be flying back to Taiwan to spend the Chinese New Year with my wife’s family, and then I continue my journey to Malaysia on February 13 to start a new career and new life. Chris Morgan left me a message on my facebook regarding my return to Malaysia two days ago: “America’s loss but Borneo’s gain.” Well said Chris! However, I think there is no loss or gain. My return to Asia is the way it should be eventually because I am needed most in my country. I can hear she is calling for me. From the first day I came here to Missoula in 1994, I am mean to return home to serve my country once my study is completed. Now, it is the time for me to return after the completion of my doctorate study. Tonight is the last night.

Goodbye Missoula! My family and I had uncountable joyful moments, sweet memories, and happy stories from the 12.5 years of stay in Missoula.

Thank you Missoula! May you always be happy, joyful, well, & at safety & peace!


Three cheers for SAM | Free Malaysia Today

Three cheers for SAM Free Malaysia Today

Three cheers for SAM

January 21, 2011


FroM Sean Whyte, via e-mail

The people of Malaysia have every reason to admire and be proud of Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM). SAM is recognised internationally for its uncompromising and passionate defense of Malaysia’s dwindling wildlife.

All too often SAM is a lone voice within Malaysia. While this, however unintentionally, brings shame on the many who choose to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the many Malaysian wildlife tragedies they are aware of, SAM can always be counted on to speak out.

If you have children or grandchildren one day, you might want, right now, to prepare your answer to the inevitable question, ‘Why did you not do something to help save our country’s wild animals and birds when there was still time to do so?’

If you want to avoid that question, and living in a concrete jungle surrounded by oil palm trees devoid of all wildlife, now would be a good time to give SAM your support.

Malaysia needs many more people who care, and hopefully this includes you, prepared to speak in defense of its wildlife. There’s no reason not to is there? There’s not a lot of time left to take action before the last tiger, the last rhino, etc. are gone, forever.

No matter where you live in Malaysia, you can make a difference, if you choose to. If you need help to get started you can always contact me.

The views I express are written without prior knowledge of SAM. My wish is simply to give credit where it is due (SAM) and to alert the people of Malaysia to the wildlife tragedy unfolding before their eyes every day of the year.

The writer is Chief Executive of Nature Alert

International Save Bears Day Febuary 21st – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

International Save Bears Day Febuary 21st – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

“February 21st is International Save Bear Day” dont forget to mark it on your callenders it was started by a great friend of mine Abel Saenz we are just asking for samll donations to be made on this day to diferent organizations that help bears to give you an idea Bornean Sun Bear Centre, Animals Asia, Wspa, Polar Bears International, Panda Bears International, World Wildlife funds, Wild Aid and the North American Bear Center and plenty more please help raise awarness and make 2011 a better year for the bears thank you so much!”

Time: February 21, 2011 all day
Location: worldwide
Street: every street in the world
City/Town: every village, town and city on Earth
Phone: N/A
Event Type: awareness
Organized By: Abel and everyone who cares about bears


Comment by Jeanette McDermott at http://ursafreedomproject.ning.com/events/event/show?id=2859061%3AEvent%3A51596&xg_source=msg_invite_event

Since 2007 Abel has been asking Bear Lovers to make a Donation on February 21st to an organization that helps bears. Please make a donation to your favorite organization or cause of your choice that is helping bears. Abel says, “By setting aside one day a year to donate allows us to save and give what we can together.” I couldn’t agree more. Let’s do it! The Donate button at UFP is designated for funds for the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. If you want to donate to BSBCC for International Save Bear Days, please use the donate button here. If you want to make a donation to a different bear organization, you will need to visit individual websites to make your donation.

Make donation to BSBCC here!8bf

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Update of Natalie the sun bear cub – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Update of Natalie the sun bear cub – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Text and Photos by Wai Pak Ng, Acting Project Manager, BSBCC


Happy New Year! This is what I want to wish my fellow readers / supporters / sun bear lovers and friends. I know a lot of people, including you, want to read more about Natalie, the latest rescue bear cub. I am sorry to keep you all waiting.


Natalie arrived at BSBCC on the 23rd Dec 2010. Since then, she got use to our centre very fast. The bonding between me and Natalie grow stronger day by day. It is much easier to handle her now compare to her first week where she bitten me with her sharp milk teeth if I make her uncomfortable due to my clumsiness.


In the wild, sun bear cubs follow their mother up to two years. Unfortunately, little Natalie is now an orphan and she is totally depends on us. It is a great responsibility for us to make sure Natalie is healthy and ready to get back to the forest where she truly belongs.


Milk is still the main food for her. Her front teeth were just erupted, and we will slowly introduce her with some soft solid food. Besides feed her five times a day, I also walk her around the centre regularly. Very soon, I will bring her into the forest enclosure.



With all your support, the entire BSBCC team and volunteers will continue giving Natalie the optimum care to make sure she is fit and ready to be released into the wild in the future.



New Year, New Plans, and New Hopes for BSBCC – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

New Year, New Plans, and New Hopes for BSBCC – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

By: Siew Te Wong

Happy belated New Year to all readers, fans and supporters of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. As we officially say goodbye to the year 2010, we are also welcoming the new year of 2011 with new plans, new hopes and new dreams at the same time!

I have kept my promise that I made in 2004 to the caged sun bears by founding the BSBCC with proper facilities and care for the sun bears. At that time, the situation for the captive sun bears in Sabah was very poor and help was needed urgently to improve the desperate condition of these animals. However, this “help”- funding, human resources, government permits, etc., were not easy to come by. I am most grateful to Sabah Wildlife Department, Sabah Forestry Department, and LEAP who gave me the full support to conduct this ambitious project. With the help from these three key agencies and organizations, plus the enormous help from so many parties and individuals, the lone crusade to help sun bears grew to become a team of forces to save the sun bear. Together, we made the impossible become possible.


Helpless, hopeless, caged sun bears are victims of human greed and needs for more natural resources.

BSBCC achieved its first goal last year by completing the construction of the first bear house and 4 forest enclosures. We moved the existing 12 bears from our old bear house to the new bear house with forest enclosures. All of these bears finally have the chance to walk in the forest, dig the soil, climb the trees, feed on termites, things that sun bears do in the wild. We later rescued an additional 9 bears, filling up our carrying capacity quickly.

Suria resting peacefully on tree in her forest enclosure.

Suria resting peacefully on tree in her forest enclosure.

Fortunately, our good works continue to receive recognition and support. Last November, the Malaysia Federal Government decided to fund the construction of Phase 2 and Phase 3 through help from the Sabah Wildlife Department. This great news means that we now have the full funding to complete the construction of the second bear house, additional 4 forest enclosures, visitor facilities (forest broad walk, visitor gallery, & observation platform) and refurbishment of the office and staff room. In short, we WILL set up the centre according to our ambitious plan and we WILL continue our hard work to save and help more sun bears and continue to let the world know about this little bear species that needs help. The preparation for Phases 2 and 3 has been ongoing over the last two months and hopefully the construction itself can begin soon. The plan is to have the construction completed by early 2012 and officially open to the public soon after.

Construction building plan for 2011 (blue) and new forest enclosures (green)

Construction building plan for 2011 (blue) and new forest enclosures (green)



Schematic diagrams of the observation platform for visitors to view sun bears

Schematic diagrams of the observation platform for visitors to view sun bears

Besides the construction to complete the building phase of BSBCC, several important missions will be underway in 2011. I will report for duty and manage BSBCC on site as my full time job on February 14th. My presence on site will reduce the heavy burden on Wai Pak and let him take a breath. We will begin plans for the reintroduction stage of a few of our rescued bears- surveying potential release sites, recruit field crews, and fund raising (as the reintroduction of sun bears back to the forest is very costly and time consuming). We will also continue to rescue and help more caged sun bears, conduct more studies on sun bears, and continue to educate people about the plight of sun bears locally, nationally and internationally. These tasks may sound ambitious. However, looking at the desperate situation faced by these bears, we have no choice but to lay out an ambitious plan and continue to work very hard to achieve our tasks.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support in many ways over the past two years. Many of you have helped us raise funds, spread the word, raise awareness, take care of our bears, volunteering at BSBCC, and in many other ways. Bit by bit, piece by piece, there is no better example to show other than the combination of your help has made this project possible and create a better future for the sun bears.

I hope all of you can continue to help us in this coming year!


Siew Te Wong, M.Sc.
CEO and Founder,
Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre




Natalie- the Christ’s birthday sun bear – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Natalie- the Christ’s birthday sun bear – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Text: Siew Te Wong; Photos: Wai Pak Ng

Two days before Christmas day on the 23rd, Wai Pak received a call from the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD), saying that a sun bear cub was on its way to be sent to BSBCC. Hour later, a SWD officer from Lahad Datu delivered this baby sun bear at BSBCC.


We did not know what the story behind this sun bear cub was. What we knew was someone surrendered this sun bear cub to the SWD Lahad Datu office, and the SWD office immediately sent this cub to us. We name this female sun bear “Natalie”. She marks the 21 sun bears we currently house at BSBCC. Weighing just a bit over 5 kg and probably 3-4 month old, Natalie appeared to be healthy although suffered from a bit of malnutrition. Wai Pak and I had a long skype conversation to talk about the care and husbandry of Natalie, as taking care of baby sun bear could be challenging because we are not a sun bear mother after all.



Natalie is active and playful over the past few days since she was with us. She also attaches and bonds with Wai Pak well and quickly. Wai Pak walks her around the centre and Natalie follows Wai Pak closely without wondering away. At this age, Natalie is still heavily depends on her mother for survival. It is no surprise to see Natalie’s attaching behavior to Wai Pak because all sun bear cubs at this age need the tender loving care and adequate nursing from their mother.


Natalie is both unfortunate and fortunate. She is unfortunate because she is a victim of habitat loss, poaching and pet trade (although we do know the story behind Natalie at this point, investigation is ongoing but slow due to the holiday season). However, she is fortunate because she was sent to Sabah Wildlife Department and the care of Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. We will try our best to take good care of her for sure.


The BBC documentary “The Orangutan Diary” told the moment of truth and desperate dilemma of hundreds if not thousands of adults and infant orangutans being homeless, killed, and orphanized due to logging, habitat destruction, oil palm plantation development, poaching, and pet trade; in short, “human activities” on this once pristine island of Borneo. The same faith applies to other wildlife species, such as sun bears. Many sun bears like the orangutans show in The Orangutan Diary being killed, babies being orphanized and kept as pets, because of these “human activities” on this landscape. Over the past three months, there were about a dozen cases of sun bear infants being captured as pets, many end up in orangutan rescue centres, seek my advices on care, medical attention, husbandry and rehabilitation of the orphan sun bear cubs they have rescued. The numbers of these orphaned sun bear cubs concern me as I believe there are many more unreported cases. The case like Natalie represents a tip of an iceberg.

I am glad that Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre has been established thanks to enormous efforts and helps from many parties, especially Sabah Wildlife Department, Sabah Forestry Department, LEAP and many generous donors to make this project possible. BSBCC is essential to provide adequate cares, halfway and permanent home for many rescued sun bears. BSBCC is also crucial to raise conservation awareness and to conserve sun bears in many ways.

Please help us. We need your help to help sun bears like Natalie!