Sunway Lagoon and Sunway University witnessed a joint collaboration between the two entities towards the enhancement of tertiary education in Malaysia. Representing Sunway Lagoon at the unveiling of the education board ceremony were Calvin Ho, Executive Director of Sunway Theme Parks; Dr. Elizabeth Lee, Senior Executive Director of Sunway Education Group and Associate Professor Dr. Shyamala Ratnayeke of the Department of Biological Sciences.
The unveiling of the particular research project on Sun Bears highlights the development of conservation educational programmes between Sunway Lagoon and Sunway University. Asian bears are threatened by habitat loss and poaching for body parts that are commercially valuable for traditional Asian medicine and cuisine. The collaboration is aimed at creating awareness of the problems faced by sun bears to inspire conservation efforts for unique native wildlife.
There are two subspecies of sun bears in Malaysia; namely the Malayan subspecies (Helarctos Malayanus Malayanus) in Peninsular Malaysia and the Bornean subspecies (Helarctos Malayanus Euryspilus) found in Borneo. Sun Bears are listed as “Totally Protected Wildlife” under the Second Schedule of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010. Dr. Shyamala collaborates with Dr. Jactty Chew, a faculty member of the Department of Biological Sciences, Sunway University. They have obtained funding from Sunway University, Lancaster University with three years of funding from the International Association for Bear Research and Management Grant for their research on landscape characteristics and population genetic structure of Sun Bears in Malaysia.
“A small act of kindness and compassion towards a single animal today will ensure their sustainability. As joint inhabitants of this planet, we need to protect each other, preserve the environment and ensure the future. Just as the sun-bears are an endangered species, so is our eco-system, the fabric of our existence. Sunway supports the Sustainable Development Goals to safeguard lives be it on land, in the air or under the sea,” says Lee.