From humble beginnings
In 2002 the sun bear became the mascot of Balikpapan. Interest and local media attention on sun bears has been aroused by a research project on sun bears and forest conservation programme focusing on the Sungai Wain Protection Forest, started in 1997 by Gabriella Fredriksson.
Following the adoption of sun bears as the mascot of Balikpapan, several bears were confiscated from private owners. These bears were placed in barred cages at the km 23 Agrowisata location.
In 2003, the then Mayor of Balikpapan Pak Imdaad Hamid, requested advice and support in developing the dilapidated Agrowisata location into an environmental education center. Two years were spent developing an overall site plan, sourcing funds to develop a natural enclosure for the confiscated sun bears, and securing long-term support from the local government.
In February of 2005 physical site development began with the building of the sun bear enclosure. In August of 2005, management and development of the facility was legally handed over to the Management Board for the Sungai Wain Protection Forest (BP – HLSW). The BP-HLSW is the first multi-stakeholder non-government, non-profit, forest management organization established in the region. Currently, the Sungai Wain Management Board consists of three implementing agencies, one for the management of the Sungai Wain Protection Forest (UP-HLSW) one for management of the KWPLH education facility (UP-KWPLH), and one for the newly established botanical garden.