Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (Borneo)


The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) was founded in Sabah, Malaysia in 2008 as a two-stage effort to provide for the care, rehabilitation and release of orphaned and captive Sun Bears, as well as address the lack of knowledge and awareness of this little-known bear both in Malaysia and internationally.

The primary goals of the BSBCC are:

-Promote sun bear conservation in Borneo by creating the capacity to confiscate, rehabilitate and release suitable orphaned and ex-captive bears back into the wild

-Provide an improved long-term living environment for captive bears that cannot be released

-Educate the public by raising awareness about this species

-Achieve increased protection for sun bears and their habitat through ongoing research, increased knowledge and awareness, and further protection of habitat.

While Borneo is a remaining stronghold for this species, it is seriously threatened if not extinct in many areas of mainland Asia, including India, Bangladesh, China, Burma and Vietnam.

Challenges to Conservation

Forest Degradation and Destruction

The large-scale deforestation and degradation throughout southeast Asia over the past three decades - clear-cutting for plantation development of palm-oil, unsustainable logging practices, illegal logging both within and outside protected areas - has dramatically reduced suitable habitat for Sun Bears and reduced the habitat quality in the remaining forest. Unfortunately, habitat loss and degradation are pushing this bear to the brink, with only about 10,000 remaining.

Illegal Hunting

Tragically, Sun Bears are poached for use in foods and traditional Chinese medicines. "Bear Paw Soup" is considered a delicacy in areas of Asia and the bile produced by their gall bladders is believed to be a digestive aid. They are also hunted to prevent damage to crops and villages, and small cubs are captured to become pets. As pets, many are condemned to spend their lives in small cages in which they often cannot even stand up or turn around.

Conservation Approaches

Rehabilitation and Release

The BSBCC built a state-of-the-art facility at Sepilok in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Here, rescued Sun Bears will be housed and cared for in a natural setting with the goal to re-release them back into a healthy forest. This innovative project is in partnership with Sabah Wildlife Department, Forestry Department and LEAP (Land, Environment, Animals, People). Currently, 46 rescued Sun Bears are being rehabilitated by the BSBCC.

Outreach and Education

Our goal: get the word out about the plight of Sun Bears and inspire a sense of pride in preserving this beautiful and charismatic species. Educate the public about the tragedy facing the Sun Bear species.

Oakland Zoo Takes Action...

Through our fundraising efforts, our support of the BSBCC helps to fund completion of the much needed rehabilitation facility in Sabah. In 2013, a team of Oakland Zoo staff and volunteers traveled to Borneo to help the BSBCC prepare their visitor center for their Grand Opening to the public. Oakland Zoo’s Veterinary Staff members have travelled to Malaysia to provide hands-on assistance in moving and providing medical care to the Sun Bears currently being rehabilitated by the BSBCC.

...And So Can You!

Help eliminate poaching by not buying food or medicine made with Sun Bear body parts. The illegal trade will cease to exist, thus eliminating poaching of Sun Bears.

Spread the word about Sun Bears by blogging and sharing links to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre.

Donate: Email Amy Gotliffe to donate to Oakland Zoo's funding efforts for the BSBCC.

Inspire others: share what you have learned about the Sun Bear’s ongoing plight with others by sharing the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre website with others.