Friday, April 09, 2010

Photos: rescued sun bears in Borneo moved to new facility

Rescued sun bears in Sabah, Borneo are getting a new home this week. The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center (BSBCC) has finished Phase 1 of its construction of a new home for the bears. Eventually the center will include visitor facilities and observation gallery where tourists will have the chance to watch the bears. For now, though, the bears will enjoy brand new state-of-the-art facilities and, for the first time, access to a pristine forest.

"For most of these bears, it will be their first 'home-coming' into the forest since their captivity into the pet trade at infancy," writes Siew Te Wong, head of the BSBCC, in his blog at Wildlife Direct.

Given that the sun bear is the world's smallest and sports an attractive yellow marking on its chest—hence its name—it is perhaps surprising that the bear isn't better known by the public and has been long-ignored by most conservation groups. BSBCC hopes a visitor center will give the public more knowledge and appreciation for this species, which is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List.

The sun bears cared for by BSBCC were illegally stolen from the forest as infants for the pet trade. They were eventually confiscated by authorities and handed over to Wong for care and, hopefully for some of the bears, full rehabilitation and re-release.

BSBCC is now raising funds for phase 2 of the project, which will include the tourist facilities and an observation deck. Estimated at 300,000 USD, donations to the project will be matched by the Sabah government.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Photos: rescued sun bears in Borneo moved to new facility

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