Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bermuda touches soil for the first time in more than 10 years :By Siew Te Wong

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!

Related Links :

Logo BSBCC-small
http://sunbears.wildlifedirect.org/
http://www.leapspiral.org/content/project07.php
http://wongsiewte.blogspot.com/
http://www.youtube.com/user/BSBCC
http://www.causes.com/causes/95651
http://twitter.com/BSBCC_SunBear

92 comments:

  1. Bermuda is so cute!
    Did not know about the sun bear Kavita. This is such a well compiled post about the same.
    He looks so so scared in that last pic, like something haunts him...

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    1. Thanks Arti.Yes ,even i noticed those scared eyes.That is why this article deeply touched me .

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  2. Bermuda resembles a dog in the last picture! I am very happy to know about Mr. Wong's work! Bermuda should be happy now!

    A BIG thank you to you, Kavita, for introducing Mr.Wong and his Sun bear. I have never heard about this breed of bear before!

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    1. Thank you so much Sandhya for reading.

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  3. Kavita Ba, great to read the post,Nice to know about Dr. Siew Te Wong.Beautiful photos.Thanks.

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  4. Amiga, seus posts me deixam mais próximos da natureza.
    É muito bom vir ao seu blog.
    Bom dia!
    (⁀‵⁀,)
    ¸`⋎´
    ¸.•°`♥
    Beijinhos.
    Brasil

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  5. Without forests there will be many more whose survival would be very hard, the message is hidden there itself Stop Deforestation, i have checked the conservation status of Sun Bear in Wikipedia and found that its "Vulnerable"..this post will truly touch everyone's heart :)

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    1. That's the reason that I shared Wong's pot here .Thanks Gautam for reading the post.

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  6. Thanks for all that info. We humans are doing so much wrong ..
    some people are doing so much good for the wildlife, wish more and more join them and things gets better ...


    Bikram's

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    1. We need to be sensitive to our environment and rest of the species living in Earth ,hope we realize before it is too late.Bikram thanks a lot for your views.

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  7. Wonderful post with interesting snaps and information...thanks to Dr.Wong!

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  8. Such an interesting and informative post - its a real tragedy that man is able to cause such devastation, thank goodness then for people such as Siew Te Wong

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  9. Kavitha, I think you are a unique Doc. The subjects that fascinates you are not the ordinary.They are different from the boring nonchalant tastes many Docs, have. And you seem to follow the subjects and blog with passion. This post is another unique one from you.
    The plight of the poor creature reminds me of the bears that are paraded on the Delhi- Jaipur stretch of the highway, with their claws and tooth pulled out. We call them tamed. We have wrong definition for words. It is a macabre spectacle and we call it tame!
    People like Mr Wong , when around still give us some hope!. And thanks to you too.

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    1. Your comments are always encouraging Anil :)Thanks :)
      You said it ,It is a macabre spectacle and we call it tame - I so agree with you .

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  10. Wonderful !!! How is it possible to make friendship with this strange species, even when it is not easy to spotted. Thanks to Siew Te Wong & you too for the post.
    ~~~Bhrigu Pathak

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    1. Glad to see you here Bhrigu and a big thanks from me and Wong.

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  11. Wow, what an incredible story! Reminds me of human beings who are afraid of venturing out of their enclosure. So sad. I hope Bermuda continues to explore his surroundings. Thanks for sharing this information with us!

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    1. It is sad Gigi .The article brought tears to my eyes when I read it for the first time.Thanks for reading Gigi.

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  12. Quite an informative and well illustrated post Kavita ji....my best wishes for Siew Te Wong...

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  13. A wonderfully interesting and informative post!! Bermuda is so very cute!! :)

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    1. Yes he is adorable . All other sunbears that are in Wong's care are cute ,do check other stories if interested.Thanks Shilpa.

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  14. Loved to learn about Bermuda. Thank you!

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  15. Hats off to Mr. Wong and people like him who have dedicated their lives to saving these animals.

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  16. Kavita, any initiative towards conservation of wildlife is laudable and your post is an effort in that direction! Bringing about awareness of rare species and promoting their multiplication is the only way to maintain the balance of nature:)

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  17. This is a novel idea in bringing about awareness. I knew nothing about the Sun bear till now :) Kudos to Siew Te Wong

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    1. I was about to share the link to his article on FB but later thought that to blog about it would be more effective.Thanks for reading Bindu.

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  18. I still can not understand why people want to keep wild animals as pet. This is very sad state and I am glad that there are still people around who want to do something about this and also contributing willingly.

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    1. I hope more awareness is created before it is too late .

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  19. Thank you so much for introducing us to this wonderful man. How terrific that Mr. Wong is trying to do the right, humane thing for these animals. We have people in Hawaii who keep wanting to keep exotic animals too. Unfortunately, they sometimes let them loose and then we've got a bigger problem in the islands.

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    1. Kay while writing this post your posts on keeping exotic animals as pet had come to my mind.This practice is very wrong and must stop soon.Thanks .

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  20. Hats off to Mr. Wong. I am grateful for introducing Mr.Wong and his Sun bear Bermuda. Was a very interesting post. Thank you.

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  21. Great to hear about Mr. Wong and never heard of the sun bear. Thanks for sharing some very good information. I agree that this kind of information gets relayed very effectively through blogs. And,you are doing a great job at promoting such causes, Kavita.

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    1. Blogging is an excellent medium for creating awareness.It was only through Wong's blog that I came to know about sunbear.Thanks Rachna.

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  22. Another very interesting post

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  23. Amazing..thanks for sharing,,,
    too good and something to know about rare species .. unfortunately..
    Sun Bear is kinda new name :)
    have a good week ahead..

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    1. We have few sunbear in our local zoo so my husband knew about it but for me it was a new name.Thanks for reading Harman.

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  24. Wow, what an interesting and informative post. I love it! I always learn so much from your blog, thank you for sharing this with us. And, a special thanks to Mr. Wong for taking time to guest post. I had never heard of Sunbear and, now I know so much.

    I’m checking in to say hi! I hope you are doing well, have a terrific week!

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  25. Thanks Dellgirl.Have a great weekend.

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  26. Thank you Kavita for introducing us to this hero, and also to Bermuda! What wonderful work. We wish them well.


    Aloha from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral

    >< } } ( ° >
    ><}}(°>

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  27. by looking at the title, i was expecting that maybe bermuda triangle mystery is solved and i was wondering how it can touch the earth...but this is entirely different thing in which you are an expert...introducing us to different cultures, places and people... thank you for this one :0

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    1. Haaaa ,yes ,infact it was the name Bermuda that first grabbed my attention.Thanks for reading Muhammad.

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  28. Kavita, I have tagged you here! http://maradhimanni.blogspot.in/2012/02/tough-elevens.html Please do it when you have time, thank you!

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  29. Nice Post Thanks for sharing this information which is useful for all.

    php web development

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  30. Bom fim de semana!
    Beijinhos.
    Brasil.
    ♥ •˚。
    °° 。♥。
    ●/ ♥•˚。˚
    /❤
    / \ 。˚。♥

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  31. Lovely to know .... to me a very sweet post. Nice meeting Siew Te Wong.

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  32. Stopping by to say hello ...... hello.

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  33. Una maravilla...un besazo desde Murcia...seguimos...

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  34. Kudos to Mr Wong.

    And Bermuda is so cute! First I thought it was about Bermuda's triangle. :)
    Did not know about the sun bear. A well compiled post about the same.

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    1. Same here Nisha ,it was the name that first caught my attention.Thanks for reading :)

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  35. Kavita,

    Read 2 posts now. As expected both are very informative. I did not know about Sunbear till now. Thanks.

    Take care

    PS : No visit for a long time?

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    1. Thank you .I will soon visit :)

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  36. well Hats of to him ..he is doing a great job

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  37. Maravilhoso é ser mulher!
    Com altos e baixos, sorrisos e lágrimas.
    Parabéns pelo nosso dia!
    Beijinhos.
    Brasil
    ¸.•°`♥✿⊱╮

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  38. It was so good of you to write about this. We need every little bit of effort to protect and conserve nature. Great piece, Kavitaji!

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  39. this was a beautiful read.... had loads of information that I had never heard of and really well written. Thanks for sharing.... It was lovely....

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  40. amazing post!!
    good on you Kavita!!

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  41. this was such a wonderful post and the pictures spoke many a story :)

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  42. a very informative read and also a very heartfelt mission..im passionate about animal conservation and to read this was very heartening!!!

    http://sushmita-smile.blogspot.in

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  43. कविता जी आपका ब्लॉग my room पढ़ा और देखा, आनंद आ गया आपने वाइल्ड लाफ के बारे में जो जानकारी सहेजी है वह अन्यत्र नहीं है. धन्यवाद, पर मुझे आपके ब्लॉग पर कमेन्ट करने की जगह नहीं मिली.....Purushottam Pandey .

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  44. olá fiorellino
    passei pra te desejar um fim de semana de paz, saúde e tanta coisas boas.
    um gran bacione

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  45. this is more than informative, it s like safari of sort..
    thanks for sharing...
    there are many bermudas out there, hope they get such treatments too

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  46. Hi, Kavita. hope all is well with you. I'm back to wish you a Happy Saint Patrick's Day.

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