A Sun Bear cub was born at the Matang Wildlife Center about 24 km outside of Kuching.
A very rare event in efforts to save the endangered species, Volunteer Leo Biddle stated this rivals efforts obtained only by the San Diego Zoo, a world renowned reproductive center for critically endangered wildlife.
“We had an idea she may be pregnant because she began acting strangely,” Mr. Leo continued. “Then she dug a huge burrow under the largest tree in the bear enclosure. We have had glimpses of the cub. All seems well at this point and the entire center is filled with excitement”, he continued.” The cub could possibly make an appearance in about month after gaining weight and developing fur.
The center has had three major disappointments with breeding Sun Bears. Two were still born and another was killed by a wild boar. “We have cordoned off the area and have provided top security to keep the other bears away.
The parents are mother Gani and dad Gabby, two elderly bears in the later stages of their lives. Gabby, around 25, ancient for the breed and Gani, thought to be in her late teens are doing well.
Gani remains in seclusion in her burrow dashing out to get food left by the keepers and then quickly returning. Trip cameras, donated by proceeds from the sale of the book “Borneo Tom”, have recorded some of the action.
Tom McLaughlin, 60, author of the book, stated cheekily, “We old men can still do it” referring to the age of the daddy bear and his own two month old son. “I am happy the trip camera is helping to monitor things”
The Sun Bear population has been decimated by logging in Indonesian Borneo and its survival greatly endangered. The Matang Wildlife Center plans to construct a bear habitat on a peninsula surrounded on three sides by water and a bunker on the fourth. Researchers will then study and hopefully fill in the gaps of its still uncompleted life cycle.