Sun bears are cute, cuddly and playful, but they are not doing too well in their Malaysian home.
“Many of them have lost their forest habitat,” says sun bear expert Wong Siew Te. “In the past 50 years, almost all lowland forests, except for a few protected areas, have been affected by logging or cleared for plantations.”
“Now, the greatest threat to bears and wildlife clinging on to the few remaining patches of forest is poaching. Though just a few people are doing the hunting, the impact is devastating.”
Malaysia has good wildlife laws but poor enforcement and persecutions are poor, according to Wong.
“There are rampant sales of wildlife on the Internet; even baby sun bears can be bought,” he laments.
Wong is being interviewed in conjunction with the launch of Discovery Channel’s Frontier Borneo, an action-packed journey featuring the lives of remarkable men and women and unforgettable creatures on the third largest island on the planet.
They have to deal with home-made bombs in the oceans, explore uncharted jungles, rescue endangered animals and come face to face with deadly creatures.
This unique cast of local and international wildlife rangers, explorers, scientists and conservationists uncover some of the most spectacular landscapes to be found in Borneo.
In tonight’s episode (Astro Ch 551, 10pm), Wong faces almost insurmountable odds as he attempts to provide a new life for bear cub Dodop, which can’t even feed herself.
Wong founded the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in 2008 after witnessing many captive bears – cubs and adults – kept in small cages, unhygienic and often disgusting conditions in zoos, farms, private menageries, and private homes.
Labels: Bornean Sun Bear, Borneo