Tourists discover dead Sun Bear floating in Kinabatangan River

SANDAKAN, 18 January 2016: The carcass of an adult Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus) floating in the Kinabatangan River was the last thing Swedish tourists Tommy Eriksson and his wife TeutaHajra expected to see while on a cruise to spot wildlife.

They managed to capture photographs of the Bear at about 6pm on Jan 16, and shared the images with Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) chief executive officer Wong Siew Te, today.

The carcass was the lower part of a Sun Bear that was cut into half with both of the hind paws missing and seen floating downstream of Kampung Sukau, close to an agricultural estate.

According to Eriksson, his wife was the first to spot the floating carcass on the river and when they got closer to it, they realised that it was actually a Sun Bear carcass cut into half.

Eriksson said they felt depressed and angry after seeing the dead Sun Bear which they believe had become a victim of poaching.

“We feel sad witnessing the scale of the deforestation is this area. The act of the killing is really brutal. This country has so much magnificent wildlife and I hope that it will take care of habitats,” added Teuta who broke into tears when she saw the carcass.

The Sun Bear carcass was recovered later in the night from the helps of Kinabatangan –Corridor of Life Tourism Association (KiTA) members and sent to Sabah Wildlife Department for investigation.

In a statement, Wong said the Bear was killed in cold blood and that the act was an illegal one that should be stopped immediately.

“The Sun Bear population is already seriously threatened from loss of the rainforest, and they have lost their habitat due to agricultural development.”

“"The remaining population is very fragile and prone to local extinction. Sun Bear play many important roles in maintaining a healthy forest ecosystem. The loss of this Sun bear is very bad for the remaining forests,“ Wong said.

There are no estimates on the exact number of Sun Bears in Sabah’s wild and those that are found orphaned or caged as part of the pet trade are usually sent to BSBCC for rehabilitation.

For further details on this Press release, please contact Mr Wong Siew Te at 016-5551256.

Source: Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) Facebook

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