Coast woman helps save sun bears

Sunshine Coast tutor Sarah Pye has played a crucial role in protecting Borneo’s dwindling sun bear population.

Sun bears battle deforestation, exploitation and illegal poaching, causing wild populations to plummet 30 per cent in the past 30 years and earn a “vulnerable” status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Sarah, and a group of University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) students, will head to Borneo next month to help promote the new Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sepilok, Malyasia.
The centre was the long-time dream of Siew Te Wong, who aims to rehabilitate and release sun bears back into their native habitat. The centre houses up to 52 bears.
Wong said he could not have fulfilled his dream without the help of many dedicated people, including those from the Sunshine Coast.
Sarah was visiting Borneo with her family last year when a chance meeting with Wong set off a chain of events which has led to USC partnering with the centre in signage designs, promotional activities and conservation efforts.
Ms Pye and her team are celebrating the centre’s opening, with a free documentary screening of “Big Dream, Little Bears” – which follows Wong’s journey – at Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital on Thursday, January 30, 5.30pm. Spaces are limited and reservations are essential. Email spye@usc.edu.au

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