Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

ON my Birthday -Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

May 17, 2011

Yesterday May 16th was my 42th birthday. At first I was thinking I would spend this day just like my other days – clean our office in the morning (Monday is cleaning day), work, spend time with our bears, and no one will know about my birthday. My family was not with me (have not seen them “physically” for 3 months, :( ) so I will have a quiet birthday. It turned out that what I experienced physically on my birthday was nothing special- no party, no birthday cake, and no birthday candles, but what I experienced in my heart from the cyber world was very special! From midnight of the 16th, friends from my facebook page across the world, many of them I never meet, started to leave me birthday wishes on my facebook profile page. Until today, there were more than 250 birthday wishes on it. I never had so many birthday wishes, ever, in my life. On top of that, my facebook birthday wish has raised US$495 for Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre from 14 donors. Thank you all for your birthday wishes and your donation to help our sun bears. I certainly can feel the positive energy from your wishes, encouragements, complements, and all the positive and cheerful words that you wrote! This energy keeps me and my team going and move forward!




Thank you all for your supports and wishes!


I spent my birthday with the 21 rescued-ex-pet sun bears at BSBCC. Jelita, Cerah and 3 others females came to greed me from their state-of-the-art forest enclosure. Seeing them walking, foraging, and climbing in this forest enclosure with dense vegetations, trees of all sizes, and fill with all kind of life forms are by far the most rewarding and happy experience that I can think of for this special day and all the hard working days in the past. I did not see other bears in their forest enclosure because their enclosures are so dense with vegetation and big that seeing a bear on forest floor or up in the tree canopy are actually very difficult. They live like wild bears! No more bars, no more cement floor, and no pacing. It made me feel that I have a purpose to serve in my life when I was born some 42 years ago.



I walked Natalie for few hours in the forest. She is now capable of climbing high on tree and do all the wild things that a sun bear would do in the forest. Very few people actually know how hard we work to make this project possible until this point. Seeing all of these bears free from cages and enjoy the mighty and magnificent forest make all the hard works over the last 6 years pay off.



Thank you all of you, especially those who help us in many ways to make BSBCC a successful project. Now most of our sun bears can enjoy the sun in the forest that they call home!
Thank you all of you who donated money for my birthday wish for BSBCC and wish me a happy birthday. I have a great birthday, despite a lonely birthday without family, and love ones. Thank you is the only thing I can say to you all.
Please continue to help us, support us, and help us spread the words and love for this little known bears!



Is Mother’s Day, but where’s my mama? – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre


Original posted on



Where’s my mama?

Kuala Lumpur, 18 April 2011
Every day, countless young wild animals are orphaned when their mothers are captured or slaughtered for the illegal wildlife trade. Many young are also taken from the wild and end up in the illegal trade because someone wants a cute pet.

Now, The Body Shop with the help of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia are calling attention to this problem with the “Where’s My Mama?” campaign, that urges the public to consider the impact of their purchases. After the awareness created with the Save Temengor Campaign, The Body Shop continues to protect our planet, this time around by drawing attention to the animals in the wild that are in need of protection.

The campaign features the orang-utan, tiger and bear, all of which are affected by this aspect of illegal wildlife trade.

For each young Orang-utan found in trade, an estimated two to four others die. Some experts place the figure as high as eight. There are two species of orang-utan – the Sumatran and the Bornean, both of which are in serious trouble. Trade in young animals as pets, coupled with huge levels of habitat loss have pushed Asia’s only great apes to the brink of extinction.

Adult tigers are hunted and snared to feed the demand for tiger parts, leaving cubs to fend for themselves. Of the nine subspecies, only six survive today. Less than a century ago more than 100,000 tigers roamed Asia’s forests but today, largely due to poaching to supply the demand for their parts used in traditional medicines and as trophies, only approximately 3000 survive. And the poaching continues.

Malaysia’s only bear species, the Malayan sun bear, is the smallest of the world’s eight bear species. And they are in trouble. Adult bears are illegally hunted for their gall bladder, their meat and body parts. Orphaned cubs are defenseless, as they rely entirely on their mother for the first two years of their life – when the mother is killed, the cubs perish. Sadly, the cubs are also captured for the pet trade or to be put on display in zoos.

In hopes of stopping this illegal trade and to draw and awareness to the plight of these animals, The Body Shop Malaysia will run its signature “Kick the Bag” campaign, asking the public to report illegal wildlife trade to the Wildlife Crime Hotline. These paper bags, act as a tool to help spread the word and draw awareness to the campaign. In store, The Body Shop will run the campaign until till the end of the month by giving out postcards to customers that frequent the stores.

We do this at The Body Shop not because it is fashionable, but because to us it’s the only way.




Wong’s notes:

Across SE Asia, numerous baby and orphaned sun bears fall victims of pet trade, poaching, and “animal loving” behavior. Just two last week ago, I was asked to help and to give advice on two pet sun bears in Sintang, West Kalimantan, Indonesia Borneo. The owner of this baby bear, Kulik, want keep him because he “love” this bear so much and refuse to surrender to a better home. The negotiation still on going to find a better home for him.

Photo: P. Rouxel

Photo: P. Rouxel

Photo: P. Rouxel

Photo: P. Rouxel

Is Mother’s Day, but where’s my mama?

Mother’s Day, but where’s my mama? – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre


NO! YOU CANNOT KEEP SUN BEAR AS PET! – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

NO! YOU CANNOT KEEP SUN BEAR AS PET! – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

By: Siew Te Wong

Last week I received an email entitled “sun bear”. I typically received a dozen or so emails with “sun bear” each week so I read the email with a normal sensation. However, my feeling was over the roof after I read it. I understand the confidentiality of personal emails that were sent to me. However, I would like to make an exception this time to share this email with all of you because this story raises a serious issue that I hope all readers should have be crystal clear after reading our blogs and knowing what we are trying to help sun bears:


Here is the email I received:


Dear Mrs Wong.

Alright, so i started browsing sites just looking at sun bears and I stumbled up yours about the conservation of wildlife that’s either endangered or protected. While watching the video about the Malaysian zoos that sell these animals illegally it got me intrigued. Basically, the just of this email is whether or not their is a legal way to gain possession of a Sun Bear as a pet. This bear is fascinating and in a few years I’d love to have one around. So while looking around I figured I would send an email and get a response.

This may seem odd or strange but I was planning on having some sort of “exotic” pet when the time comes around. Now, I don’t think of this as a prize, or something I can show off as a trophy. But merely an animal that can be nurtured in a loving and providing household.

So can it be done? Can a Sun Bear become a persons’ pet, or is it a strictly zoo animal?

I’d love to hear back
C@#$ S*^&*^%


This is my reply to him:

Hi C@#$,

Sorry for the late reply. Your email came to at a busy time.

Thank you for checking with me about the idea of getting a sun bear as pet. For your information, this is really a BAD idea trying to keep a sun bear as pet. It is wrong morally, socially, and legally. Sun bear is protected by law in every country within their range. Keeping or owning a sun bear without proper permit from the authority is illegal. On top of that, sun bear is a wildlife that is impossible to tame. At the end, the bear end up being locked up in metal cage performing all kind of crazy stereotypic behavior. This is a really sad, stressful, and pain for the bear, and the behavior of keeping a sun bear as pet is very sick and has to be condemn seriously. Please read my blog of the “captive sun bear series I, II, III” at http://sunbears.wildlifedirect.org/2008/06/.

In my career I have come across numerous pet sun bears in SE Asia. I consider myself very lucky as one of very few people in the world who is able to observe how sun bear live in the wild. However, I also am one of the few in the world who got to see so many “pet” sun bears, kept by so call “pet lovers”, that live in the condition that no word can describe how badly they were. The cause of this sick behavior, literary torture the bears at every second, was originated from the ill “animal loving” behavior, similar to what you plan to do. So if you ask me if it is a good idea to keep a sun bear as pet, my answer to you is “ABSOLUTELY NOT!”

As you can see our website, what we are trying to do at Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre is to rescue pet-caged sun bears from irresponsible and criminal bear owners. We have spent tremendous amount of efforts and resources to improve the living quality of these ex-pet bears and to help them. We are trying hard to fix the mess that these irresponsible, criminal, cool blooded bear owners have created. So if you are smart enough to see what we are trying to do, the answer is again an absolutely NOT A GOOD idea to keep sun bear as pet, and a sun bear CANNOT become a person’s pet, and it CANNOT be done! Period!

Kindest regards,


P/S: My gender is male, so please is Mr. Wong.


Cerah, Jelita and Lawa in the wilderness – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Cerah, Jelita and Lawa in the wilderness – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Text by Shauna Tay; Photos by Siew Te Wong

The independent women (sun bears la..) of BSBCC – Cerah, Jelita, and Lawa – were let out into a newly secure forest enclosure (Enclosure C) last week . They’ve previously been out into Enclosure D on a regular basis and have all become confident to outdoors. On the 20th of April we had fixed Enclosure C where the fence were damaged by fallen branches that was much larger and with more new trees, vegetation, and smells for them to discover.

Enclosure C- fills with big and small trees and thick vegetation- prime sun bear habitat.

Enclosure C- fills with big and small trees and thick vegetation- prime sun bear habitat.

Some background knowledge about these three ladies; all sent at different times from Lok Kawi Zoo in Kota Kinabalu. Their ages range from 4-5 years, with Lawa as the dominant one in the group. Cerah and Jelita are the best of friends (which is surprising as bears are usually solitary animals) and absolutely adore each other’s company.

Lawa pocking her head out of the door while Cerah and Jelita exploring the new forest enclosure.

Lawa pocking her head out of the door while Cerah and Jelita exploring the new forest enclosure.

On Day 1 Cerah and Jelita had gone out happily into this big patch of forest. However Lawa stayed back in the pen – still building up the courage to go out as this was a whole new area. For their 2 o’clock meal of fruits, we had scattered them all over the outdoor enclosure to encourage them to eat out in the forest, where they should, rather than in their pen. This is also done to encourage foraging – a very important skill for a wild bear to have.

Step by step, Jelita exploring her new forested home.

Step by step, Jelita exploring her new forested home.

Jelita and Cerah always hung out side by side with each other.

Jelita and Cerah always hung out side by side with each other.

While Lawa hung around in their pen, Cerah and Jelita decided to be rebels. They didn’t come back in for their 4 o’clock porridge meal, yet decided to keep on exploring outdoors throughout the night! Although this was not planned, it’s actually a great thing as they would be able to find places for themselves to sleep outside, and also have the opportunity to build their own nests. We had left their pen door open for them to come back when they were ready, and sure enough they were sitting there with open arms for their breakfast in the morning.

Lawa finally step foot on the forest enclosure!

Lawa finally step foot on the forest enclosure!

Day 2, 3, 4 and 5 went on pretty much the same except that Cerah and Jelita actually returned for their evening meals rather than staying out all night. Day 6, Lawa finally stepped foot into the outdoor enclosure at 2pm. All three of the ladies are outside in the wilderness tonight. Hopefully with more observations, they’ll be in the queue to be released out into the wild – for good.

That little block dot in the middile of the photo was Lawa- the Bornean Sun Bear.

That little block dot in the middile of the photo was Lawa- the Bornean Sun Bear