BERUANG MADU - The Sun Bear Nov 27, 2012 2:13:23 GMT -9
Post by sarus on Nov 27, 2012 2:13:23 GMT -9
Bear Specialist Group
Short Sun Bear Education Documentary Available Online!
Co-chair Sun Bear Expert Team
In 2005, when we began developing a sun bear education center in East Kalimantan
(Indonesian Borneo; see http://www.beruangmadu.org). At that time I did not think it would
become such a popular destination for local visitors and school groups.
Now, 7 years later, more than 50,000 people annually come to see the sun bears and
partake in other education activities.
This is a tremendous opportunity to impact sun bear conservation by increasing public awareness of threats and needs of this species in the local area and across their range.
The development of this education center was spurred by the confiscation of 5 sun bears
(that had been illegally held as pets). This occurred after the species had become the mascot for the district where I had been doing research on sun bears for several years. As a
first step, we built a substantial (1.3 ha) forest enclosure for the confiscated bears.
We then constructed a large education exhibit focusing on many aspects of sun bear
ecology, behaviour, research and conservation.
During the weekends we have several local interpretive guides on the boardwalk from
where visitors can observe the bears in a somewhat natural setting. Children can also
partake in a variety of games relating to sun bears (i.e. making bear masks,
bear foraging games, quizzes). But one thing that we were lacking was a sun bear
This year we have finally finished the first short education film on sun bears
(the only such film that I am aware of). The young sun bear featured in the forest in this documentary was rescued from the illegal wildlife trade in West Kalimantan. She was
fortunate enough to be given a second chance at life in the forest rather than being
stuck in a small cage, and is currently undergoing a slow rehabilitation/release programme in Central Kalimantan. This documentary is shown to all visitors coming to see the sun bears
at the center, and is also shown in local schools. The documentary (Indonesian with English
subtitles) is available online and is free to use anywhere for educational purposes! We hope you will enjoy watching it!