|Pic credit :Siew Te Wong|
Siew Te Wong :. Siew Te Wong is a renowned Malaysian wildlife biologist who is at present the CEO of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sabah which he founded in 2008. . He is also featured in the book Wildlife Heroes :40 leading conservationist and the animals they are committed to saving written by Julie Scardina and Jeff Flocken . It is a great privilege to have him as my guest writer today.Here is more on Siew Te Wong .
Born in 1969 and raised in Penang (a state in the northern Peninsular Malaysia), Wong has always been an animal lover. As a kid he kept all kinds of animals like cats, rabbits ,mice ,birds,fishes,civets and many carnivorous insects too as pet.His father always supported and encouraged it. By the time he was a teenager he became a very successful breeder breeding dogs ,birds and fishes. After high school he went to Taiwan to obtain a diploma in animal science and vetrinary. Four years later he pursued his Bachelor degree at the University of Montana USA ,followed by a Master's degree and Phd all from the same university. Due to unforeseen circumstances he could not finish his doctorate. He studied the ecology of Malayan sun bears and the effects of selective logging on bearded pigs on his doctorate. In 2008 he founded BSBCC in Sepilok ,Sandakan, Sabah and holds the position of Chief Executive Officer since then.
|Pic credit :Siew Te.Wong|
.In his own words : Animal lover all my life. Decided to choose working with wildlife and help them as much as I could as my mission in life. Our own kind kills and eats them, destroy their home, and lock them in cages. I am here to help. Help the voiceless as much as I could. I try to influence other people as much as I could. Make others aware of the conservation issues. On the other hand, I am just like other people. I like food, I like to cook, I like to prepare good and tasty food. Asian food, especially is my favorite .Chinese, Malay, Indian, Thais, are some of my favorite food. I have some secrete recipes, maybe one day I will have my own restaurant when I retire as a conservationist and a wildlife biologist.Know more about him here at Ecoknights :Beer Necessity -A Walk On Wild With Wong Siew Te.
How this post happened : I was surfing through some wild life pictures and articles on net when I came across this beautiful write up on Sunbear by Siew Te Wong .Honestly speaking I knew nothing about Sunbear until then .The moment I finished reading it my heart was full of love for sunbear and admiration and respect for Wong's work. .I wrote a very short mail to him where I introduced my self and told him about my blog and requested him to be my Guest Writer.I told him that how I knew nothing about sunbear until I came across his write up .Soon I received a very nice reply from him where he kindly accepted my request and agreed to share Bermuda's story here at My Room .We exchanged few more mails in relation to this post .I am sharing few lines from one of his mail here :
I often tell people do what they do best to help us and the sun bear. For you as a blogger, blog about our work and sun bear. Like what you experience personally, you never know about sun bear until you read my blogs. This is the reason why I have to write more so that they can reach people like you and together we help spread the word on the plights of the sun bear. FYI, India also have sun bears but they are even little known about sun bear in India. They are found in the eastern tips of India, in Arunachal and Assam Provinces. So people in India need to know more about them as well.Hope one day sunbear will be a well known bear.
So friends here we are taking you to a lesser known world of beautiful Sunbears.I would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to Mr. Wong for being my guest writer and also for providing me pictures and all the information that I needed for this post.
About Sun Bear :
In the tropical forest of Southeast Asia, lives a bear species call sun bear. These bears are small, the smallest of all the eight living bear species, and have black fur that are not easy to be spotted when they forage on the dark forest floor under the multi-layers forest canopies.Sun bears are the tree loving bears. They are forest dependent species. They live their life completely in the forest. Without forest, there will not be habitat for the sun bears. They need healthy forest to survive as in the forest that they find sufficient food, shelters, mates, and propagate.Sun bear holds many world’s records.They are the world’s smallest bear species. However, they have the longest tongue, longest claws, and largest canines relatively to their size if compared to other bear species .They are the world’s most arboreal bear species. Yet, sun bear is the world’s least known bears. They are the least studied bear species. Wong often refer them as the forgotten species.
Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre
BSBCC aims to conserve sun bears through improve animal welfare for captive sun bears, raise conservation awareness for sun bear with educational programs, conduct research to learn more about this little known bears, and rehabilitate pet sun bears into the wild.Know more on BSBCC here.
Bermuda touches soil for the first time in more than 10 years
Caged, pet sun bears have a sad life. From the day they were captured and kept as pet, most of them will NEVER touch the soil, climb the trees, and dig the ground again.Many of our rescued sun bears also have the same fate. However, with our state of the art forest enclosure, the rescued sun bears at BSBCC have the chance to enjoy the forest.
Bermuda, a 10 year old male sun bear at BSBCC, was rescued by Sabah Wildlife Department on October 10, 2002. He lives on a concrete floor since the day he was captured from the wild as a little sun bear cub. For him, the ground is always a smooth layer of concrete floor, until today.
|This is how far Bermuda willing to go on the first day to forest enclosure.|
Bermuda finally passed his electric fence training lately. We let him out to his forest enclosure for the first time on Valentine Day Feb 14th. We put food, and honey (all time favorite food for bears) on the ramp to encourage/lure him out of his den. What he did that entire day was pocked his head out to reach the food and honey on the ramp without stepping a foot on the ramp.
This is a very pathetic story for all caged sun bears. To all of them, confined and locked up in a small cage is life. They do not know the world beyond the cage. Rain, soil, trees, leaf litters and other natural vegetation and natural elements in the forest all are something that they never come in contact. The only time when they walked on the forest floor was during the first few weeks or months of their life, until their mothers were killed and they were captured by poachers. To them, forest is an alien nation, fills with unknown bugs and unknown noise; the place that is so strange, insecure and uncertain. All of our adult bears decided to stay inside the den and not wondering into the forest enclosure when we released them out to the forest enclosure for the first time. It sometime took them weeks if not months to wonder out from their den. Only the young once would go out immediately and enjoy the forest without second thoughts.
Bermuda’s reaction when we let him out to the forest enclosure was not exception on Valentine Day. Over the next week or so he still kept himself safe under the protection of his den although the door to forest enclosure was staying open all day long. The food that we left on the ramp and the forest floor has attracted troops of forest bandits – pig-tailed macaques and long-tailed macaques, to enjoy their free meals. Bermuda, sometime I questioned his “male-hood,” just stood in his den and watched his food being stolen away by these intelligent primates.
|A smart pig-tailed macaque robbed the food that we placed on the ramp to encourage Bermuda the sun bear out from his den to explore the forest enclosure.|
A smart pig-tailed macaque robbed the food that we placed on the ramp to encourage Bermuda the sun bear out from his den to explore the forest enclosure.
Three macaques ganged up to rob food from the bears. The scene is like hyenas gang up to steal lion's prey in African savanna.
|The only thing that Bermuda did was watching the bandit took his food and sticks his tongue out!|
This afternoon as I was writing another blog on Fulung and Mary, Marianne our volunteer from UK rushed into the office, “Bermuda is out to his forest enclosure!” Wai Pak and I grasped our cameras and went down to witness this historic moment. This is the moment where he step foot on the forest floor for the first time in more than 10 years and we do not want to miss that! Although he did not wonder off far from the guillotine door of his den, we can tell from his fast pacing behavior that he was nerves and wanted to go back. Wai Pak then scattered some bread in the enclosure to encourage him foraging and exploring a bit more. He just ate the bread that was close to him without much exploration. After tens of minutes, he finally found his way back to his den and did not come out to explore again.
|Bermuda is finally out to explore the enclosure. Although not much area covered, it is a good try for sure!|
That was a good start for a captive sun bear willing to wonder off his den on the 7th day. Gutuk, another old male bear still decided to confine himself in his den although the door to the forest enclosure has been open for the past 3 months.
|Bermuda finally walking on soiled ground, not cemented floor. It may seem nothing for a bear, but for Bermuda, this is a big deal!|
I am sure Bermuda soon will gain more confidence to explore the forest enclosure. What he need is time and encouragement. In BSBCC, we will give him both!
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