Second sun bear released into the Tabin wildlife reserve

29 Jul 2016 / 18:52 H.

SANDAKAN: The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) has released a female Sun bear named Lawa back into the rainforest of Sabah in collaboration with the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD).

Following a final medical check up carried out by Dr Rosa Sipangkui from SWD, the release was carried out on Monday and the short helicopter flight into the release location went smoothly without any delay or problem.

Upon arrival, Lawa left her translocation cage without any hesitation and moments later disappeared into the pristine woods of the Tabin Wildlife Reserve.
Lawa is carrying a GPS satellite collar which will enable the BSBCC to monitor her movements on a regular basis.
BSBCC founder and chief executive officer Wong Siew Te in a statement here today, said Lawa was brought to the BSBCC in Sepilok as an orphaned cub in 2008 and had been prepared since then to return to the forests where she came from, and where she belonged.
"She has undergone rehabilitation training for eight years, learning all essential skills a Sun bear needs for survival in the wild, such as nest-building, foraging and being able to feed itself.
"All of this training was made possible at the state-of–the-art natural forest enclosure at BSBCC," he said.
Wong said Lawa's release came to fruition in a joint effort involving SWD, Sabah Forestry Department, Land Empowerment Animals People (Leap), Tabin Rangers, BSBCC, volunteers and crowdfunders.
He said Lawa was the second Sun bear to be released into Tabin Wildlife Reserve, after Natalie, in May last year.
Natalie was successfully monitored for about two months in the forest where she roamed an area of 14.3 sq km.
"After Lawa's release, BSBCC currently is home to 40 rescued Sun bears. The responsibility and cost to take care of these bears are huge," added Wong.
Meanwhile, SWD director William Baya commended BSBCC for initiating the release project.
"Lawa is a sign of BSBCC's success and I believe more bears will be released into the wild in the near future," he said.

Sun bears are protected by law in Sabah under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997, with offenders facing the prospect of up to five years in prison or a maximum fine of RM50,000.
Sadly, however, that has not stopped some opportunistic locals and regular poachers alike from continuing to try and snare or shoot bears in the state's forests.
"Our department would like to issue a stern warning to those who continue to poach Sun bears and other protected wildlife species.
"We will take action against those who are found to be involved in such activities," Baya said.— Bernama

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