SANDAKAN: The fledgling Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre here received a boost with a RM700,000 grant from the Tourism Ministry.
Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the money would help efforts to conserve the endangered bear species and to support the centre’s potential for eco-tourism.
“The centre has already attracted nearly 52,000 tourists who want to get a closer look at the sun bears,” he said of the centre in Sepilok located about 40km from here.
The centre, which has 38 rescued bears, began operating in 2008 and was officially opened to the public in 2014.
The centre’s founder and chief executive officer Wong Siew Te said he was very thankful for the ministry’s financial support.
The money to finance the centre’s operating expenditures, which stood between RM700,000 and RM800,000, mostly came from donations, visitors’ contributions and sales of souvenirs to sustain their conservation efforts, he added.
“The (ministry’s) contribution goes a long way in helping us in our programmes.
“We need to put up more facilities for the bears as well as carry out education and research activities,” he added.
Nazri, who began a six-day visit to the east coast Sabah town yesterday, is scheduled to visit Pulau Selingaan, the Agnes Keith Tea House, the Kinabatangan River Lodge and also a homestay in Batu Puteh, among other tourist centres during his stay here.