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In East Kalimantan (Indonesia) Sun bear habitat is rapidly shrinking due to forest conversion and fires for palm oil monoculture development. As a result of this sun bears are now commonly held as pets and conflict with humans occurs when bears enter gardens or feed on crops. Despite this, the Balikpapan municipality decided in 2001 to make the sun bear its mascot. This has led to a better protection of the last bit of primal forest where bears live (the Sungai Wain forest), and a heightened awareness among the locals. The sanctuary is surrounded by an elevated bridge. From this bridge visitors can see the bears play, climb, and dig. Local guides are trained to give visitors information.

Threats to the sun bear
Visitors at the KWPLH Education Centre can access information through painted panels, paintings, bear statues and interactive displays. All the education material is being made by local artists. Local goverment has been very positive since the start of the project, and they contribute in the daily management costs. The Sun bear or Malayan bear is a protected species in Indonesia, but law enforcement is not very strict. Because large parts of the forest are still turned into plantations or cut down for agriculture, many bears loose their habitat. In search for food they sometimes come too close to human settements. Cubs are taken from the wild and are often kept as a pet, until they grow too large (and dangerous) to maintain and end their life in misery in a small cage or are sold for meat or other parts.

Conservation education
The latest financial support from Bears in Mind is directed towards:

1) Development and printing of a number of awareness materials;

‐ Design and production of new sun bear activity booklet;
‐ Re-­printing of Sun Bear booklet for distribution among visitors;
‐ Production of variety of sun bear promotional materials;

2) Repairs/maintenance to visitor boardwalk; sun bear holding area; sun bear enclosure;

3) Improved visitor education through guide training.