Sun bear is a forgotten bear species. They are the least known bear and one of the least known large mammals in Southeast Asia until recently. I hope this blog can enlighten readers and open up discussions on how we could help this unfortunate but yet magnificent animal that we call “sun bear".
SANDAKAN: A three-month-old sun bear cub that was put up for sale in a remote Paitan area is now under the good care of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) located off Mile 14 Labuk Road near here.
The bear cub, named Tan-Tan, was taken to the BSBCC in Sepilok yesterday, making her the 44th rescued sun bear to be placed at the BSBCC since the centre was set up over six years ago.
BSBCC founder and chief executive officer Wong Siew Te said the bear was purchased by someone who came across a villager trying to sell the cub.
He said the person who bought the cub informed the Sabah Wildlife Department and this led to the Department’s wildlife rescue unit sending her to the centre.
“Tan-Tan was saved and brought to her new home at the BSBCC, and we now have 35 bears out of the total 44 we have received over the years. The cub is under quarantine and is being given round the clock care by our staff,” he said in a statement.
Tan-Tan undergoes a health check.
Wong thanked veterinarians, Dr. Laura Benedict and Dr. Sandy Ling Choo, of the wildlife rescue unit for conducting a health check on Tan-Tan when she arrived at the facility.
Wong also said that it was important for the public to understand that buying Sun bears creates an incentive for poachers to capture the animal for profit, with some choosing to kill the species for their body parts.
“We thank the person who bought the cub and sent her to the department, but we must stress here that the best way to help a Sun bear or other wildlife meant for trade is to report the matter to the Sabah Wildlife Department immediately.
“This will allow the law enforcement officer to catch and prosecute those found selling protected animals or their parts. We have to avoid buying wildlife. When the buying demand stops, the killing will stop too.
“We worry that the sale of bears creates an incentive for poachers to capture or to even kill more bears to make money. Buying creates a market for Sun bear cubs and fuels trading,” he said.
Wong added that the cost of caring for Sun bears is huge, and appeals to the public to support the BSBCC by donating to it, or by adopting bears like Tan-Tan. Details on the adoption programme can be found at the website, http://www.bsbcc.org.my or //donate.html; or http://www.bsbcc.org.my/adopt.html.