Target: Siew Te Wong, Director of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center
Goal: Commend leading sun bear researcher for his work in protecting the species
Sun bears, which are native to the forests of southeast Asia, are a vulnerable species that face a myriad of threats. The population of this unique bear species is estimated to have shrunk by about 30% in recent decades. Illegal poaching and deforestation are the major causes. Fortunately, the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center has recently opened to help raise awareness of the plight of these bears.
The sun bear has been listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list of endangered species since 2007. The bear has suffered a major decrease in habitat due to deforestation driven by a global increase in demand for palm oil. Huge tracts of forest are being cleared in countries like Sumatra and Borneo to make way for palm oil plantations to serve the world’s growing demand for this product. Unfortunately, this leaves far less forest for the sun bear, as well as so many other creatures that rely on the forest for homes.
The sun bear faces an additional threat from poachers that target the bears for parts such as their gall bladder. These are often used in Chinese traditional medicines. Even though laws exist to protect the bears from hunting, the lucrative underground trade makes them an easy target for poachers interested in earning an easy profit.
Siew Te Wong, a long time sun bear researcher and advocate has recently opened the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center in Sabah, Malaysia to help raise public awareness of these issues. It is the only sun bear conservation center in the world. Its mission is to provide care and rehabilitation for orphaned and captive sun bears, as well to raise awareness for the challenges facing sun bears in Malaysia and internationally. Siew Te Wong should be commended for is efforts in protecting this threatened species.
Dear Siew Te Wong, Director of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center,
I would like to commend you for your role in opening the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center. You have been a tireless advocate for sun bears for many years and deserve much praise for your direct action in helping to protect these bears and raise public awareness of the threats which make them a vulnerable species.
This new center will help many bears in need of rehabilitation as well as generate support for conservation efforts amongst people who might otherwise be ignorant of the threats they face from habitat loss and illegal hunting. Thank you for your work in helping sun bears.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar via Wikimedia Commons