Let the pictures tell the stories… the sun bears at BSBCC – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Let the pictures tell the stories… the sun bears at BSBCC – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Text and photos by Siew Te Wong

Sun bears live in dense tropical forests across Southeast Asia. In Peninsula Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo, the habitat of sun bears is the ever green tropical rainforests. These rainforest are green and lush all year long with multi-layers of canopies that can reach 65 m above the ground. Trees and all sort of plants grow at every corner in the forest. These dense vegetations provide important covers for the wildlife that live in these forests. As a result, wildlife in the tropical rainforest is illusive, rarely seen, and not well known. One of the wildlife found in these forests is the sun bear!

Let me show you how sun bears live in the lowland tropical rainforest of Borneo.

Thanks to Sabah Wildlife Department, Sabah Forestry Depart, LEAP, many funders, supporters, partners, volunteers, BSBCC has started from a big dream to reality.

Please share these photos and feel free to tag yourself and friends!

Thank you, thank you and thank you!

Photo 1: This is the first photo I wanted to show: a photo of the lowland rainforest of Borneo. The forest has multi-layers canopies, very dense in vegetation. Life is thriving on every corner in this forest. This is the forest enclosure of BSBCC where the sun bears roam freely each day.

Photo 2: Pay attention to the two red circles. They are here for good reason :)
Photo 3: When I used my zoom lens and zoomed in for a little bit. Do you see what I see? No?
Photo 4: OK, check out the red the red circles again, see it now?
Photo 5: This is what I cropped out from the bottom red circle. Yes, a sun bear!
Photo 6: This is what I cropped out from the top red circle. Another sun bear! This bear is sleeping.

Photo 7: I then used my 300mm zoom lens to take another photo. This is what I took :)
Photo 8: Cropped out from photo 7, nice eh?
Photo 9: A minute later, the bear seemed to see me from a great distant and waked up from her nap.
Photo 10: Cropped out from Photo 9. Really nice!
Photo 11: Zoom in to the bear on the lower circle. She also seems to know that I was photographing her.
Photo 12: Cropped out from Photo 11. She was peeking at me!
Photo 13: Is time for the bear at the lower red circle to take her nap.
Photo 14: Cropped from photo 13. This is how sun bear sleep or nap on tree. Sun bear is a tree loving bear. They love to climb and spend a lot of their time on tree – sleeping, resting, feeding or even playing!
Amazing? Yes, totally!


Borneo's top 5 travel secrets | Inspire Me | Wanderlust

Borneo's top 5 travel secrets | Inspire Me | Wanderlust


Discover the sun bear sanctuary on your next trip to Borneo (Kevin Albin)

Borneo's top 5 travel secrets

24th October 2012
Borneo is a land of intrigue, popular with travellers the world over. Award-winning guide Kevin Albin reveals how to avoid the honeypots, starting with sun bears

1. Sun bear sanctuary, Sepilok

Sepilok is a popular destination to see the orang utans but right next door is a brand new sanctuary for sun bears (helped along by Kevin's Guide Award bursary). These bears are the smallest of all sub-species and, like the orang utan, they are arboreal and are losing their habitat through deforestation. Sadly, they are also poached, captured for pets and used in Asian medicine.
The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre currently has 25 bears in residence. Conservationists are nursing them back to health and where necessary, educating in how to be a wild bear. The intention is then to release them into the forest. As so few people know about the sun bears, including Malaysian and Indonesians, the Centre is also involved in education and raising the animal's profile.

2. Lupa Masa

Picture an eco-camp made from giant bamboo with palm thatched shelters, solar powered lighting and reed bed toilet disposal. There's no roads, no hunting and it employs solely local people.
The real beauty though lies in the forest, which is full of jungle animals who live undisturbed. Track down exotic birds, curious insects and a range of primates, such as gibbons who make the most enchanting noises. Clear rivers and stunning waterfalls complete the experience.
Lupa Masa means literally to 'forget time' and near to Poring Hot Springs, surrounded by the beautiful Mt Kinabalu National Park it's easy to see why.

3. Picnic with the Penan

If you are looking for a genuine experience in the jungle with local people, this one is exceptional. The Penan, once a truly nomadic tribe, know exactly how to live in harmony with the forest. You'll need to take a light aircraft flight to Long Lellang, deep in the rainforest and maybe a boat journey in a dug-out canoe.
Witness how the jungle provides for its inhabitants with food, water, and shelter as well as those comforts such as baskets and bracelets made from rattan, and even musical instruments from bamboo. The area is stunning and the guides who will take you trekking are very knowledgeable.

4. The Kinabatangan River

This is a remarkable place to see wildlife. Pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys, and even saltwater crocodiles. Cruise the river at dawn and dusk, stay in a bamboo hut at Sukau or Abai Village and savour the great food being served.
Take a night walk in the jungle with a local guide who will find things you would never have spotted on your own. The nearby Gomantong Caves are worth a visit for the bats and swiftest and their nests – a spectacle straight out of a David Attenborough documentary.

5. Santubong

This is across the bay from Bako National Park near to Kuching and is a little known area. It's where 19th century British explorer and naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace carried out some of his research, thought to have been instrumental in Darwin's evolution theory. For wildlife enthusiasts there's the chance to spot rare hornbills, turtles, and the Irrawdy dolphin.
If you're feeling fit, Mt Santubong is worth the four-hour trek to the summit.
Kevin Albin won Bronze in the 2011 Wanderlust World Guide Awards. He used his prize bursary to help set up the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. Find out what makes him an award-winning guide here.


Big Dreams Little Bear at Kuala Lumpur Eco Film Festival – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Big Dreams Little Bear at Kuala Lumpur Eco Film Festival – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

By Wong Siew Te

The weekend of the October 14th was a busy weekend for BSBCC and the sun bears in Malaysia. First it was the TV3′s hour-long documentary on sun bear and BSBCC in their popular TV program Majalah 3 broadcasted on Oct 13th. Then the momentum picked up when another hour-long BSBCC documentary Big Dream Little Bears was being screened at the 5th Kuala Lumpur Eco-Film Festival.

This screening of the Big Dream Little Bears not only raise awareness on sun bears and the story of BSBCC to the audience in KL, but also brought Howard Jackson and Audrey Low to KL and have a big reunion after two and a half years. Howard and Audrey owned Wildhoop Production, the film makers who produced, filmed, and directed Big Dream Little Bears. Without Howard and Audrey, we would not have stood there in front of the audience during the film festival.

A big reunion after two and a half year with Wai Pak, Audrey, Howard, and Wong all gathered at the KL Eco-Film Festival.

The weekend long even started with the screening of Big Dreams Little Bears together two other films at Palate Palette Restaurant and Bar on the evening of October 11th. It was a cozy event where audiences and fans packed the function hall on the second floor of the restaurant. The screening was well received with questions and answers at the end of the screening.

The introduction and making of Big Dream Little Bears by Audry and Wong

Special events and screening of other eco-films continued on the following three days at the Experimental Theater, University Malaya. The finale of the film festival was scheduled on the 14th at University Malaya where the screening of many eco-films started from the late morning to the evening. Big Dream Little Bears was screened to a much larger audience than the Palate Palette at the very last of the event. The audience enjoyed learning the facts of sun bears and challenges to save the least known bear on Earth.

Thanks to the KL Eco-Film Festival organizer, especially Yasmin Rashid, founder of Eco-Knights for their kind invitation for us to join the eco-film festival. The festival has been an important event to make more and more Malaysia know about our very own species of bears that live in our forest and serve important ecologic roles to maintain the health of our forest ecosystem!

An introduction of the film at the begining of the film.

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Wong’s TEDxKL talk is available online! – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Wong’s TEDxKL talk is available online! – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

If you miss Wong's talk at TEDxKL 2012, here is the chance to view it youtube:

Sun Bear TV program overwhelmed – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Sun Bear TV program overwhelmed – Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

A huge success for the TV program Sinar di Sepilok: Kisah Beruang Matahari Borneo (Sunshine in Sepilok: Tales of the Bornean Sun Bears) broadcasted last weekend October 13th at Malaysian TV Channel TV3. The one hour program was produced, directed, and narrated by TV3′s journalist Irin Putri in her Majalah 3 (Magazine 3) documentary. The program has been overwhelmed by the general Malaysian viewers. To most of the viewers, this was the first time that they know about sun bears and the work we do at BSBCC. According to TV3′s survey, at least 1.8 million viewers have watched this program on prime time last Saturday.

If you miss the show or if you from oversea, you now can watch the program online at:


Just register with tonton.com.my and you will have access to view it online.

Enjoy the show!

One additional notes: Irin first contacted me on July 2010 about her interest to do a program on sun bear. This is what Irin wrote more than 3 years ago:

From: Irin Putri Azmi
Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2010 11:01 AM
To: wongsiew@hotmail.com
Subject: TV3 Majalah 3 On Sun Bears

Mr. Siew,

I’m with TV3′s magazine-documentary programme called Majalah 3. I’ve been interested to do a special feature about you and the sun bears for a while now. I would like to know if you’re interested to be featured.

As the very few sun bear experts in Malaysia, I believe you are the best person to convey the message about sun bears and their conservations efforts to the local audience.

I look forward for your reply. You may contact me at 012-xxx xxxx for further information.


Irin Putri Azmi

Executive Broadcast Journalist

Primeworks Studios


Wow! I did not realize that it has been 3 years. Thank you Irin for your persistency to make this TV program a reality. Along with millions of viewers, I would like to thank you and TV3 for helping us to spread the words and make sun bear no longer a forgotten bear!