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Alumna to film a documentary about sun bears

March 04, 2013

  • Jocelyn with a sun bear

Jocelyn Stokes ‘07, founder and director of Survival of the Sun Bears, is aiming to bring awareness of the plight of the sun bears - the smallest of all bears - whose habitat and survival is threatened. She is building an awareness campaign and plans to produce a conservation documentary film about the bears.

One of the primary threats to sun bear survival is that they are a little known species to the general public, and the mission of Survival of the Sun Bears is to document the entire process of conducting research and to expand sun bear awareness by producing an educational and inspirational documentary film. Jocelyn plans to make this film widely available and share it with colleges and other educational institutions around the world. Watch a video here about the documentary.

In Jocelyn’s own words: “Three years ago I experienced my first taste of the Borneo jungle and its incredible array of wild species. I also met my first sun bear. I fell in love. I was welcomed into the BSBCC as their first on-site photojournalist. During the month that I spent photographing the sun bears, I experienced many firsts… my first tug-o-war with a wild orangutan…my first case of Dengue fever….my first run-in with a komodo dragon in the shower… but most memorably it was the first time I fell completely in love with what I was doing.

Using my skill and passion for photography to promote the conservation of one of the most lovable creatures I had ever met, sparked an undying dedication in my heart! It became so clear to me that this is what I am MEANT to be doing with my life. I realized my true calling is to be the voice for those who cannot speak; inspiring an awareness in people to ultimately conserve our unique wildlife.

With my background in photography from Lewis & Clark College, I realized that it would be important for me to be educated in wildlife conservation from a scientific standpoint. Now, through my degree in wildlife conservation, I am returning to Borneo to conduct critical sun bear research under the guidance of leading sun bear expert and founder of the BSBCC, Siew Te Wong. “

Sun bears face a triple threat: habitat loss due to deforestation (palm oil plantations), poaching & exploitation, and illegal pet trade.

Helping sun bears and saving the forests they live in has the additional benefit of protecting their forests, thereby protecting a multitude of other endangered species as well, including the orangutans, proboscis monkeys, pigmy elephants, Sumatran rhinos, hornbills, the Bornean bay cat and many more. It also means protecting the wild forests that Borneo’s indigenous tribes count on to survive. Borneo’s forests and all the diversity of wildlife that exists within them can survive, with greater awareness and attention to their cause.

The hope is that this documentary film will inspire a much greater awareness of what is needed for sun bears to survive.

Jocelyn writes: “There is so much we can do to help these charismatic creatures be a part of our world for generations to come… I want to invite you to join in this mission. With our attention and awareness, sun bears can survive.

Together, we will support and document current conservation efforts, while contributing to critical sun bear research. This is how we will share the story of the world’s smallest bear and the plight of its survival.”

Follow Jocelyn’s campaign on her blog and facebook page.