Lounge Bar Lecture: Sun Bear Conservation

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Lounge Bar Lecture: Sun Bear Conservation

Satisfy your thirst for knowledge over a drink at the local pub.

Get the intellectual juices free flowing with an engaging and interactive series of lectures from prominent researchers and teaching academics who are experts in their field.

These free public lectures showcase how university research is changing people's lives. Learn how the work being done in lecture theatres and labs is having a real impact in our community.

Topic 1

What does USC and the world’s forgotten bear have in common? Sun of course! The Malayan Sun Bear is the smallest of the world’s eight bear species and, if you ask Dr Wong Siew Te, founder of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, he’ll say they are by far the cutest. Many USC students would agree. BSBCC has been working with USC students across multiple disciplines since 2013, offering them opportunities to practice their skills while helping save a species. From creating an adoption program, to designing interpretive signage, Wong will talk about the benefits and outcomes of various collaborative projects.

About the presenter

Dr. Wong Siew Te started studying sun bears in the jungle of Borneo for over 20 years ago, there were only two other sun bear researchers in the world. He now runs a unique rainforest centre called the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC). It is home to 43 Malayan sun bears rescued from habitat destruction, poaching and the illegal pet trade. BSBCC focuses on animal welfare, rehabilitation, research and education. It opened to the public in 2014 and now welcomes over 75,000 visitors each year, raising enough funds to be self-sustaining. In 2017, USC awarded Wong an honorary doctorate for his tireless work and commitment to save a species.

Topic 2

Biographic ‘research’ conjures up images of endless hours in dusty libraries poring over ancient manuscripts and crinkled news cuttings. Nothing could be further from the truth for Doctor of Creative Arts candidate Sarah Pye as she delves into the life of Dr Wong Siew Te and the sun bears he saves. In this presentation, Sarah takes you along on her personal journey of discovery that includes stories of leaky gum boots, remote helicopter expeditions, incense smoked Buddhist temples, heart-pumping rejection letters and momentous goodbyes.

About the presenter

In 2012, Sarah Pye introduced Malaysian sun bear ecologist Dr Wong Siew Te to the University of the Sunshine Coast, which has led to numerous research and experiential learning projects. Two years ago, Sarah approached Wong about writing his biography and he enthusiastically agreed. Sarah is now a Doctor of Creative Arts candidate at the University of the Sunshine Coast, exploring how Wong’s life narrative can be used to engage a non-specialist audience in conservation. No stranger to publishing, Sarah was named Sunshine Coast Small Business Woman of the Year (2010) for her guidebook, Kids Welcome to Queensland (2009). She has worked in various aspects of the tourism industry for the past 35 years. Her tour boat business Ocean Rafting was awarded a Queensland Tourism Award (2000), and she currently sits on the board of Visit Sunshine Coast.

Photo credit: Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre

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