• Cierra Bynum

One man devoted to saving the sun bears

Malaysian wildlife biologist Siew Te Wong started the Bornean sun bear conservation center in 2008 to rehabilitate and care for orphaned sun bears and release these bears from poachers into the wild.

Wong was inspired to begin the project when he studied the bears and discovered that the bears had been classified as "vulnerable to exctinction" a year earlier. Wong told CNN, "When I started 20 years ago, no one had studied sun bears and most people today don't know they even exist."

Wong has 44 bears in his conservation, all of which were orphaned from poaching and malnourished at the time they were rescued. Many also had their claws chopped off.

Wong also releases bears to the wild when they are ready. Wong said to CNN, “We have released two bears so far, and this year we plan to release four more.”

Wong also teaches the public how to help save the sun bears. For example, the sun bears are threatened by many things like deforestation, loss of habitat, and are hunted for meat and body parts that are used in Asian medicine; the babies are also kept as illegal pets.