PIDM adopts five sun bears

Helping hand: A rescued sun bear at the BSBCC. It’s believed that there are fewer sun bears than orang utan left in the wild. — Photo by BSBCC

PETALING JAYA: Wildlife conservation in the country has received a boost with five sun bears at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) in Sandakan being adopted.

The year-long commitment by Malaysia Deposit Insurance Corporation (PIDM) is in support of Chief BerUang, which is featured in a series of animated videos produced by PIDM as part of its “Financial Resilience Campaign”.

PIDM is a statutory body that provides protection for financial consumers.

PIDM chief executive officer Rafiz Azuan Abdullah said its support would help BSBCC continue its conservation efforts and raise awareness about the Borneo sun bear, one of Malaysia’s vulnerable animals that comes under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.

Three female and two male sun bears were adopted.

Thanking PIDM for its support and in raising awareness about the sun bear, BSBCC chief executive officer and founder Dr Wong Siew Te said the centre had not been able to raise funds from ticket and merchandise sales as it had to be temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

BSBCC is home to 43 sun bears rescued by the Sabah Wildlife Department across the state.

An analysis by the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) estimated that there were only 300 to 500 sun bears left in Malaysia as of 2018.

Its population in Sabah and Sarawak is unknown but conservationists believe there are fewer sun bears than orangutan left in the wild.

The International Union for Conservation lists sun bears under the “vulnerable to extinction” category and it is the second rarest bear species after the giant panda.

Set up in 2008, BSBCC currently runs a rehabilitation programme for rescued sun bears as well as anti-poaching, conservation, education and research activities.

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