Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, Sandakan

Neighbor to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre is the Bornean Sun Bear Conservatory. This conservatory is built to rescue, cure and free the Sun Bear, again a species which is under the threat of extinction. Borneo is an island of all those wonderful wildlife who gets back seat in developing and developed countries. The places like Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, Orang Utan Rehabilitation centre are for preserving them and restore the balance in the ecosystem.

Borneo Sun Bear looking for food

The Sun Bear Conservatory is in the premises of the Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre and it has only one viewing deck. The second viewing deck is under construction and will be open by mid of 2016. Unlike Labuk Bay and Rehabilitation centre, Sun Bear Conservatory doesn’t have feeding time. The bears are left in the area to find food like leaves, insect and once in a day, they provide food by volunteer (there is no fix time for that).

Big bear sleeping on tree

The Sun bear conservatory is managed and maintained by private authority who has dedicated his life in preserving the species. Sun Bear is the world’s smallest bear. The team cures the rescued Sun bear. These sun bears have either found on the streets near forest or rescued during the illegal trading of animals. Once the animal is cured and recovered, they are released into the nearby forest. The owner is available at the conservatory and if you are lucky, you get a chance to interact with him and know more about the these sun bears. Apart from the owner, even each staff at the conservatory is friendly and helpful with lots of information to share.

Two kid bear walking around

There are 10 separate sections created for various bear (based on the age, size, gender and health). All areas are next to each other divided by the fences. The reason for creating separate area is because of the violent nature of bears. Bear are not violent in general, unless sometime they get offensive and attack the other bear. In the past, there have been cases where the old and young bear were kept together only to find an old bear has attacked the young bear and killed him. All sections have bear of different age and gender. In one section Young bears are kept together and in another section male and female bear kept together. Not more than 4 bears are kept in one section. From the viewing deck, you can see two sections where one has old bear and the second one had a young bear in it.

Who is watching me ???

All bear has a spot on their chest. Each species of bear have that spot, just like human fingerprints. Each spot of bear is different than one another and that’s how you can distinguish between them. Bear most of the time is lazy animal. When we were there, the whole time one bear was sleeping whereas young one came all the way towards the viewing deck for his afternoon walk and also food. By the time we were leaving, two bears in old bear section started fighting. When asked staff about their violent nature and whether they interfere with it, they said they try to avoid most of the time as the bear can be powerful and dangerous during such fights.

I always found bear cute animal, not because of Winnie the Poo or all those soft toys of bear. They were happy, lazy and lost in their own world unless someone, another bear, disturb his peace, he gets violent. I am just assuming, I am sure they are calm animal with a short temper. 

Note: If you have more time to see things in Sabah, do pay a visit to Tabin Wildlife Reserve, there you will get a chance to see them in their natural habitats.

Sun Bear looking for some food
Curled up to find some food
Two Old Borneo Sun Bear together spending their time

Mansi Oza

A travel enthusiast juggling a full-time gig in tourism with my love for exploration! Instead of tallying countries, I'm all about cherishing the experiences each journey brings. Whether it's blending business with leisure or diving headfirst into new adventures, I'm here to share the thrill of discovery with you! Let's embark on unforgettable escapades together!

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