In Asia, adult sun bears are poached for body parts which are thought to have medicinal properties. Many orphaned cubs, with their small size and endearing features, are kept illegally as pets. Malaysian ecologist Dr Wong Siew Te, or “papa bear”, has dedicated his life to saving the world’s smallest bear from extinction.
In this heartwarming story, Wong’s love of animals leads him to pursue an unconventional, sometimes dangerous career. It takes him from Malaysia to Taiwan, where he studies animal husbandry; to Montana, where he learns to trap grizzly bears; and on to Borneo to research bears in the dense rainforest.
Wong struggles to raise funds to create a unique rescue centre for sun bears, and in 2017 he is acknowledged as a CNN Hero—proving one person can make a difference. Australian author 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.