Adult sun bears are poached for body parts that are thought to have medicinal properties. Orphaned cubs are kept illegally as pets. Natural habitat is disappearing fast. In this inspirational story, Malaysian ecologist Dr Wong Siew Te, or 'papa bear', tries to save the 'forgotten bear' from extinction. His quest takes him around the world, and in 2017 he is acknowledged as a CNN Wildlife Hero – proving one person can make a difference.
Australian author Dr Sarah Pye takes readers on a journey of discovery, introducing individual sun bears she has come to know: Natalie, who learns to survive without her mother; Bongkud, who is struck by lightning; Gutuk, who is too scared to go outside; and Debbie, who grabs her chance at freedom. Saving Sun Bears is Wong's story – and theirs.
Australian author Dr Sarah Pye first visited Borneo in 2012, ostensibly to see orangutans in the wild. When she met Dr Wong Siew Te and asked what she could do to help sun bears, he replied "do what you do best". Those five powerful words sparked a seven-year journey, a Doctor of Creative Arts degree, an enduring friendship, and this book. No stranger to publishing, Sarah was named Sunshine Coast Small Business Woman of the Year in 2010 for her guidebook, Kids Welcome to Queensland (2009).
"When I first met Wong during filming of Beartrek, I was so moved by his love for sun bears and their future [...] it went way beyond science. Now I'm proud to call him a friend and so happy that Sarah has captured his life in the words of this beautiful book. Be prepared to laugh and cry as you read his story, and be prepared to fall for Wong as everyone who crosses his path does."
– Chris Morgan, documentary filmmaker, Uproar
"I was recently immensely privileged to meet Dr Wong and film the release of three sun bears back into the wild. Wong is an incredibly committed and charismatic man, and I highly recommend this inspirational story about his life and important work."
– Dame Judi Dench, actor and activist