Grand opening of BSBCC and Sepilok Orangutan rehabilation Centre’s 50th Anniversary on the 9th October, 2014

Date: October 23rd 2014

Text by Nick Tan
Pictures by Tee Thye Lim and Chew Lin May


The car park was empty, umbrella canopies with beautiful decoration and chairs underneath were seen, loud music was playing and plenty of wildlife exhibition when I came to work today. At as early as 8am, the usual silent morning was suddenly hit by waves of locals and foreigners visitors flooding in. The reason? The 50th Anniversary of Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (SOURC) and the grand opening of Bornean Sun Bear Conservation centre (BSBCC).

Main entrance of Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Main entrance of Sepilok Orangutan

BSBCC Grand Opening (23)

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (SOURC) in the Malaysian Sabah District of North Borneo was founded 50 years ago when Barbara Harrison initiated the very first rehabilitation centre in the world for rescued orangutans. The site is 43 sq km of protected land at the edge of Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve. Today around 60 to 80orangutans are living free in the reserve. The new objectives of the centre has expanded to public education on conservation, research assistance and provide care for any other wildlife species. This centre is renowned for their work in rescuing and rehabilitating orangutans all aross the sate and has increased global awareness on the importance of protection of orangutans.

Carrying the same spirit and vision as Madam Barbara Harrison and SOURC, BSBCC was established at 2008 to help the Malayan sun bears. 2014 represented a milestone for BSBCC for it is when we are opened to public.  In fact, the centre had asuccessful soft opening on January 16th 2014 and since then, we had a staggering number of visitors – around 34,895 (16,978 local and 17,917 foreigners). Over the past six years, we have worked to improve welfare of captive sun bears in Sabah. Today, with the grand opening of BSBCC, we look forward to educating and reaching out to many more people across the world to raise awareness about sun beras and their rainforest habitat. Research and rehabilitation which are critical in the conservation of sun bears are areas of focus now that the centre is open. BSBCC is also helping to boost the economy through tourism. According toTripadvisor.com, BSBCC is currently ranked number four among 20 attractions in Sandakan. Visitors to BSBCC are doing their bit to enhance wildlife conservation and forest protection.

The grand opening of BSBCC and 50th Anniversary of SOURC was attended by Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment – Y.B Datuk Sri Panglima Masidi HJ. Manjun and Director of Sabah Wildlife Department – Datuk Dr. Laurentius Ambu. The event went on for 2 days with the opening ceremony with the VIPs and various educational activities and exhibition held for the public.

Y.B Datuk Sri Panglima Masidi HJ. Manjun giving a speech on the importance of enforcement needed to curb poaching of wildlife.

Y.B Datuk Sri Panglima Masidi HJ. Manjun giving a speech o

BSBCC Grand Opening (12)

BSBCC Grand Opening (38)

Escort personally by our founder and

BSBCC Grand Opening (80)

BSBCC staffs welcoming the VIPs.
 BSBCC is now officially open!

BSBCC is no

Datuk Sri Masidi Manjun looking over from the platform to observe the sun bears.

Datuk Sri Masidi Manjun looking over 

“I hope that this new centre will be another model for a successful facility that can be proud of.” said Datuk Sri Masidi Manjun.

A big thank you from us.

A big thank

Opening of Orangutan outdoor nursery

Opening of Orangu

The completely soundproof observation deck at the outdoor nursery was made to reduce the disturbance from humans to the orangutans.

The completely soundproof observation deck at the outdoor nurser

An interview conducted by reporters in the outdoor nursery.

An interview conducted by

” When the centre was first set up, we had only a few staff working around the clock to care for the rescued orangutans. Now, not only do we have the assistance from several NGOs for the rehabilitation work, the centre is also a home for the sun bears rehabilitation program” Said Datuk Dr. Laurentius Ambu

Bobohizan (priest/priestess in khadazandusun) ceremony.

Bobohizan (priest/priestess in khadazandusun) ceremony.

Bobohizans have the ability to communicate with spirits and make peace with them.

Bobohizans have the ability to communic

Our exhibition booth

Our exh

Kid wearing a sun bear mask   Handmade masks of wildlife species   Orangutan and sun bears

Kid wearing a sun bear    Handmade masks of               Orangutan and sun bears
mask                              wildlife species

BSBCC Grand Opening (62)  BSBCC Grand Opening (69)   DSC_7269

colouring contest  Drawing made by natural materials.   DSC_7329

colouring contest               Drawing made by               Thank you everyone who    
                                        natural materials.              supported us and came to 

our grand opening!

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