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Sumatran Sun Bear Team Limited


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Sumatran Sun Bear Team Limited

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South Penrith NSW, Australia

Organisation type

About this organisation

The Sumatran Sun Bear Team (SSBT) is a not-for-profit charity which will work to prevent and relieve the suffering of Sun Bears and other animals within Sumatra, Indonesia.


The Australian based charity was founded by Lesley Small in 2017. Lesley has over 35 years of experience working in various animal fields, but has a special bond with the world’s smallest bear species since working with them for over 20 years. Lesley has visited and spent time at Bear rescue facilities in Southeast Asia but after a trip to Sumatra in 2013, she was shocked to see that although bears were being confiscated by the government from the wildlife trade, there was no specialised Sun Bear facility to take them in. This makes it very hard for the Indonesian Government to house or rehabilitate rescued Sun Bears. It was recognised that there is a need to establish an organisation in Sumatra.


Lesley brought together people within her network of passionate, likeminded people in the Conservation industry who were committed to making her vision a reality, and the Sumatran Sun Bear Team (SSBT) was born.

The two major threats to Sun Bears are habitat loss through deforestation and hunting. While the killing of bears is illegal in Sumatra, many bears are still captured in snares or killed to prevent crop damage, for exotic food and ‘medicines’ as well as captured for pets.


Currently, confiscated Sun Bears may not be equipped to be returned to the wild. Sun Bear cubs spend at least 2 years with their mothers developing foraging, nesting and survival skills as well as “bear etiquette”.


Released Sun Bears can fall victim to territorial male Sun Bears or other animals, die from starvation or wander into villages where they become part of the human/bear conflict, killed or recaptured. Successful releases of bears have involved lengthy periods of rehabilitation in the forest or in forest rescue centres followed by expensive helicopter release drops into protected habitat and with GPS post release monitoring. No such resources currently exist in Sumatra.


SSBT has secured an area of land in North Sumatra which will be ideal for use as a Sun Bear Rescue and Conservation centre. The site is located close to Bukit Lawang, on the edge of the Gunung Leuser National Park a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will need to raise some good funds to be able to purchase this this land.

Adoption process