Friday, March 09, 2018

Two rescued BorneanSunBear s go back to the wild at TabinWildlifeReserve

SANDAKAN: Two rescued Malayan sun bears were released at the Tabin Wildlife Reserve, near Lahad Datu on March 7 by a team from the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC).

The adult female sun bears, given the names of Damai and Debbie, were originally surrendered by their owners who kept them as pets, to the Sabah Wildlife Department.

When the status of Malayan sun bear was upgraded to totally protected species in 1997, several people who kept sun bears as pets were allowed to retain the sun bears for a few years after the upgrade until the Sabah Wildlife Department was ready to take them.

Over the past few years, the surrendered sun bears have been rehabilitated back into the forest at BSBCC, learning important skills like climbing, digging and finding food. They have adapted so well that they were chosen out of the 44 bears at the centre, as the first release for 2018.

Both bears were fitted with GPS satellite collars which will enable the BSBCC to monitor their movements on a regular basis.

On March 6, a final medical check-up was conducted by Dr. Nabila Sarkawi. Then, at 3 am on March 7, under the cool cloak of darkness, four vehicles left Sepilok with their important cargo for the helipad at Tabin Wildlife Reserve Headquarters.

The cages were then airlifted by helicopter using cargo net high above the treetops to the chosen release location at the mud volcano site in the middle of the reserve.

The project was a joint effort between Sabah Wildlife Department, Sabah Forestry Department, and the BSBCC team.

Dr. Wong Siew Te, chief executive director and founder of BSBCC, said a great deal of planning had gone into the release and the effort had been very successful.