Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Meet the world’s smallest bears

More on Sandakan

The excellent Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre at Sepilok rescues and facilitates the rehabilitation of the Malayan sun bears (Helarctos malayanus) back into the wild. Sun bears are found in the tropical lowland rainforests of Southeast Asia and are the world's smallest bears, with adults around just 120 to 150 centimetres tall and weighing in at 20 to 70 kilograms.

Travelfish says:
Yes, we said cute. Photo by: Sally Arnold.
Yes, we said cute. Photo: Sally Arnold

You can support the work of the centre and get to see the bears up close in their natural habitat from observation platforms at the centre. Sun bears are skilled climbers and can often be seen hanging out in the treetops. Telescopes along the platforms will give you an up-close view. Staff and volunteers are often at the platform and can identify the bears by name and tell you their, often sad, tale of how they came to be rescued. One of the bears we saw had a ring of fur missing around its middle as though it had been trapped, however this wasn’t the case—it was self-inflicted, attention-seeking behaviour.

The visitors centre has a gift shop and shows a short film. The centre has an adoption programme; no, you can’t take one home but for 300 ringgit per year you can share a bear, or for 7,200 ringgit per year you get publicly thanked. There are other ways to financially support the programme too. For a unique holiday, you can volunteer at the centre for two to four weeks. The two-week programme costs 4,450 ringgit and includes food and accommodation. For information on volunteering contact info@ApeMalaysia.com or ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 200 words.)

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Reviewed by

Sally spent twelve years leading tourists around Indonesia and Malaysia where she collected a lot of stuff. She once carried a 40kg rug overland across Java. Her house has been described as a cross between a museum and a library. Fuelled by coffee, she can often be found riding her bike or petting stray cats. Sally believes travel is the key to world peace.

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