NGO thanks Sabah Wildlife Dept for saving two sun bears

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PETALING JAYA: NGO Friends of the Orangutans (Foto) have expressed their gratitude and sincere thanks to the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) for rescuing and sending two Bornean sun bears from the Tawau Hot Spring to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC).

In a statement, Foto, who have fought relentlessly for the bears’ release, said they were aware the decision to relocate the animals was not easy but added, “SWD have given both bears a new lease of life where we know they will receive excellent care at BSBCC.

“We’d also like to thank Dr Wong Siew Te and the BSBCC management for accepting both bears and caring for them for the rest of their lives,” its director, Upreshpal Singh said.

According to Foto, the bears had been kept in captivity for about eight years and could not be released into the wild, hence the decision to send them to the conservation centre instead.

Foto also revealed it had conducted investigations into the living conditions of the bears six months ago and with the help of two other NGOs – Malaysian Friends of the Animals and Nature Alert UK – embarked on a campaign to secure their release.

“Three months ago the bears were finally removed from the park into a local zoo for quarantine and health checks.

“Foto is very pleased to inform that both bears were sent to BSBCC yesterday which provides excellent care for sun bears and where they have access to wild-like enclosures,” Upreshpal said.

Foto also called on the public to help BSBCC with the upkeep of both bears which will cost the centre USD7,700 (RM30,037) annually.

Members of the public who are interested in donating or adopting a sun bear, can go to BSBCC’s website at http://www.bsbcc.org.my/ for more details.

Founded in 2008, the BSBCC aims to promote sun bear conservation by creating the capacity to confiscate, rehabilitate and release suitable orphaned and ex-captive bears back into the wild.