Wednesday, September 21, 2016

CuriosTraveller: Sandakan @ Sabah, Malaysia - Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center

Our Travel Journal continues here at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center (BSBCC), Sepilok. The center is located next to the Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center which is a bonus for visitors as no longer trip is required. If you have never seen a Sun Bear, this is definitely the right place for you. We pretty much listed this place as one of the must-visit location in Sandakan.

In general,  BSBCC is a sun bear rescue and rehabilitation facility being developed in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. It is therefore a great center to learn about sun bears and observe them in their natural habitat.

Depending on the time you come here and of course your luck, you might be able to some Sun Bears either on top the trees or on the ground, doing things as they want to! If you are not so lucky, you will only get a glimpse of them. 

When we came here, it was almost noon and the heat from the Sun probably made them ‘hiding’ somewhere in the bushes or so.

We managed to see about only 2-3 Sun bears walking, playing and later hide, escaping from the heat I guess. Nevertheless, let us show to all of you what this place is about, in case you decide to come here.


Malayan sun bears are the smallest bears in the world and are only found in Southeast Asia. These bears continue to be threatened by forest degradation, illegal hunting for bear parts and poaching to obtain young cubs for pet trade. 

The results of these threats has caused young sun bears found to be living in unnatural captive conditions in Sabah, with no access to outdoor areas.

There are currently 40 rescued ex-captive sun bears residing at the BSBCC. The facility includes large forest enclosures to provide a natural environment suited to the needs and welfare of the sun bears and facilitate their rehabilitation back into the wild.

The team at BSBCC in Sepilok-Kabili Forest Reserve reintroduce bears into their natural habitat and provide the largest forest enclosures of any sun bear centre. The care they provide is the closest a captive sun bear can come to life in the wild. 

Their expert researchers and rehabilitators work with the bears to develop the skills necessary – foraging, climbing trees, nest building and self-defense – for independence in the forest. For cubs, their experts become surrogate mothers until the bears gain their independence. They constantly develop “enrichment activities” to improve welfare and encourage species specific behavior.