SEPILOK, 30 July 2016:

The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC)announced that a female sun bear named Lawa was released back into the Borneo rainforests of at 11.10am on July 25 – with collaboration from Sabah Widlife Department (SWD).

The transfer to, following a final medical check up day before conducted by Dr Rosa Sipangkui from SWD, and the short helicopter flight into the release location went smooth and devoid of any delays or problems.

Upon arrival Lawa left her translocation cage without any hesitation and moments later she had 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 said Lawa was brought to the BSBCC in Sepilok as an orphaned cub in 2008 and has been prepared ever since then to return to the forests, where she came from and where she belongs.

“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 the training were made possible at the state-of –the-art natural forest enclosure at BSBCC.“

Wong also said Lawa‘s release came to fruition as a joint effort by its partners – the Sabah Wildlife Department, the Sabah Forestry Department, LEAP, the Tabin Rangers, the BSBCC team, volunteers, everybody who participated in the crowdfunding who helped and support generously in Lawa’s release.

“The release of Lawa into Tabin Wildlife Reserve is the second release after Natalie which was released into the same place and similar method on May last year. Natalie was successfully monitored for about two months in the forest where she roamed an area of 14.3 sq km.“ Wong said.

“After Lawa’s release, BSBCC currently is home to 40 rescued sun bears and the responsible and cost to help taking care of these bears are huge.”

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 and/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.” said Sabah Wildlife Department director William Baya.

“We will take action against those who are found to be involved in such activities.”

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