The sun bear (Helarctos malayanus) is a bear species occurring in tropical forest habitats of Southeast Asia. It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. The global population is thought to have declined by more than 30% over the past three bear generations. Suitable habitat has been dramatically reduced due to the large-scale deforestation that has occurred throughout Southeast Asia over the past three decades.
The sun bear is also known as the "honey bear", which refers to its voracious appetite for honeycombs and honey. However, "honey bear" can also refer to a kinkajou, which is an unrelated member of the Procyonidae.
|Sun bear range|
(brown – extant, black – former, dark grey – presence uncertain)
Ursus malayanus Raffles, 1821
The sun bear's fur is usually jet-black, short, and sleek with some under-wool; some individual sun bears are reddish or gray. Two whirls occur on the shoulders, from where the hair radiates in all directions. A crest is seen on the sides of the neck and a whorl occurs in the centre of the breast patch. Always, a more or less crescent-shaped pale patch is found on the breast that varies individually in colour ranging from buff, cream, or dirty white to ochreous. The skin is naked on the upper lip. The tongue is long and protrusible. The ears are small and round, broad at the base, and capable of very little movement. The front legs are somewhat bowed with the paws turned inwards, and the claws are cream.
The sun bear is the smallest of the bear species. Adults are about 120–150 cm (47–59 in) long and weigh 27–80 kg (60–176 lb). Males are 10–20% larger than females. Their muzzles are short and light-coloured, and in most cases, the white area extends above the eyes. Their paws are large, and the soles are fur-less, which is thought to be an adaptation for climbing trees. Their claws are large, curved, and pointed. The sun bear's claws are sickle-shaped; the front paw claws are long and heavy. The tail is 30–70 mm (1.2–2.8 in) long.
During feeding, the sun bear can extend its exceptionally long tongue 20–25 cm (7.9–9.8 in) to extract insects and honey. The sun bear's teeth are very large, especially canines, and high bite forces in relation to its body size, which are not well understood, but could be related to its frequent opening of tropical hardwood trees (with its powerful jaws and claws) in pursuit of insects, larvae, or honey. The animal's entire head is also large, broad, and heavy in proportion to the body, and the palate is wide in proportion to the skull. The overall morphology of this bear (inward-turned front feet, ventrally flattened chest, powerful forelimbs with large claws) indicates adaptation for extensive climbing.
Sun bears are found in the tropical rainforest of Southeast Asia ranging from northeastern India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam to southern Yunnan Province in China, and on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo in Indonesia. They now occur very patchily through much of their former range, and have been extirpated from many areas, especially in mainland Southeast Asia. Their current distribution in eastern Myanmar and most of Yunnan is unknown. The bear’s habitat is associated with tropical evergreen forests.
As sun bears occur in tropical regions with year-round available foods, they do not hibernate. Except for females with their offspring, they are usually solitary. Male sun bears are primarily diurnal, but some are active at night for short periods. Bedding sites consist mainly of fallen hollow logs, but they also rest in standing trees with cavities, in cavities underneath fallen logs or tree roots, and in tree branches high above the ground.
In captivity, they exhibit social behavior, and sleep mostly during the day.
Sun bears are known as very fierce animals when surprised in the forest.
Bees, beehives, and honey are important food items of sun bears. They are omnivores, feeding primarily on termites, ants, beetle larvae, bee larvae and a large variety of fruit species, especially figs when available. They have been observed eating fruits from the durian species Durio graveolens. Occasionally, growth shoots of certain palms and some species of flowers are consumed, but otherwise vegetative matter appears rare in the diet. In the forests of Kalimantan, fruits of Moraceae, Burseraceae and Myrtaceae make up more than 50% of the fruit diet. They are known to tear open trees with their long, sharp claws and teeth in search of wild bees and leave behind shattered tree trunks.
Sun bear scats collected in a forest reserve in Sabah contained mainly invertebrates such as beetles and their larvae, termites, and ants, followed by fruits and vertebrates. They break open decayed wood in search of termites, beetle larvae, and earthworms, and use their claws and teeth to break the standing termite mound into a few pieces. They quickly lick and suck the contents from the exposed mound, and also hold pieces of the broken mound with their front paws, while licking the termites from the surface of the mound. They consume figs in large amounts and eat them whole. Vertebrates consumed comprise birds, eggs, reptiles, turtles, deer and several unidentified small vertebrates. Hair or bone remains are rarely found in sun bear scat.
Females are observed to mate at about 3 years of age. During time of mating, the sun bear shows behaviours such as hugging, mock fighting, and head bobbing with its mate.
Gestation has been reported at 95 and 174 days. Litters consist of one or two cubs weighing about 280–325 g (9.9–11.5 oz) each. Cubs are born blind and hairless. Initially, they are totally dependent on their mothers, and suckle for about 18 months. After one to three months, the young can run, play, and forage near their mothers. They reach sexual maturity after 3–4 years, and may live up to 30 years in captivity.
The two major threats to sun bears are habitat loss and commercial hunting. These threats are not evenly distributed throughout their range. In areas where deforestation is actively occurring, they are mainly threatened by the loss of forest habitat and forest degradation arising from clear-cutting for plantation development, unsustainable logging practices, illegal logging both within and outside protected areas, and forest fires.
The main predator of sun bears throughout its range by far is man. Commercial poaching of bears for the wildlife trade is a considerable threat in most countries. During surveys in Kalimantan between 1994 and 1997, interviewees admitted to hunting sun bears and indicated that sun bear meat is eaten by indigenous people in several areas in Kalimantan. High consumption of bear parts was reported to occur where Japanese or Korean expatriate employees of timber companies created a temporary demand. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) shops in Sarawak and Sabah offered sun bear gallbladders. Several confiscated sun bears indicated that live bears are also in demand for the pet trade.
Sun bears are among the three primary bear species specifically targeted for the bear bile trade in Southeast Asia, and are kept in bear farms in Laos, Vietnam, and Myanmar. Bear bile products include raw bile sold in vials, gall bladder by the gram or in whole form, flakes, powder and pills. The commercial production of bear bile from bear farming has turned bile from a purely traditional medicinal ingredient to a commodity with bile now found in non-TCM products like cough drops, shampoo, and soft drinks.
Tigers and other large cats are potential predators. American Museum of Natural History naturalist and co-founder Albert S. Bickmore described a case in which a tiger-sun bear interaction resulted in a prolonged altercation and in the death of both animals. A wild female sun bear was swallowed by a large reticulated python in a lowland dipterocarp forest in East Kalimantan. The python possibly had come across the sleeping bear. Other predators on mainland Southeast Asia and Sumatra could be the leopard and the clouded leopard, although the latter could be too small to kill an adult sun bear.
Helarctos malayanus has been listed on CITES Appendix I since 1979. Killing of sun bears is strictly prohibited under national wildlife protection laws throughout their range. However, little enforcement of these laws occurs.
The Malayan sun bear is part of an international captive-breeding program and has a Species Survival Plan under the Association of Zoos and Aquariums since late 1994. Since that same year, the European breed registry for sun bears is kept in the Cologne Zoological Garden, Germany.
Comprehensive research about sun bear conservation and rehabilitation is the mission of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sandakan, Sabah, founded in 2008 by wildlife biologist Wong Siew Te.
Durio graveolens Bombacaceae S fr Tree
Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park is a national park in Sagaing Division, Burma (Myanmar). The park consists of the Patolon Reserved Forest and the adjoining Taungdwin Reserved Forest.Bear
Bears are carnivoran mammals of the family Ursidae. They are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans. Although only eight species of bears are extant, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern Hemisphere and partially in the Southern Hemisphere. Bears are found on the continents of North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Common characteristics of modern bears include large bodies with stocky legs, long snouts, small rounded ears, shaggy hair, plantigrade paws with five nonretractile claws, and short tails.
While the polar bear is mostly carnivorous, and the giant panda feeds almost entirely on bamboo, the remaining six species are omnivorous with varied diets. With the exception of courting individuals and mothers with their young, bears are typically solitary animals. They may be diurnal or nocturnal and have an excellent sense of smell. Despite their heavy build and awkward gait, they are adept runners, climbers, and swimmers. Bears use shelters, such as caves and logs, as their dens; most species occupy their dens during the winter for a long period of hibernation, up to 100 days.
Bears have been hunted since prehistoric times for their meat and fur; they have been used for bear-baiting and other forms of entertainment, such as being made to dance. With their powerful physical presence, they play a prominent role in the arts, mythology, and other cultural aspects of various human societies. In modern times, bears have come under pressure through encroachment on their habitats and illegal trade in bear parts, including the Asian bile bear market. The IUCN lists six bear species as vulnerable or endangered, and even least concern species, such as the brown bear, are at risk of extirpation in certain countries. The poaching and international trade of these most threatened populations are prohibited, but still ongoing.Bile bear
Bile bears, sometimes called battery bears, are bears kept in captivity to harvest their bile, a digestive fluid produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder, which is used by some traditional Chinese medicine practitioners. It is estimated that 12,000 bears are farmed for bile in China, South Korea, Laos, Vietnam, and Myanmar.The bear species most commonly farmed for bile is the Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus), although the sun bear (Helarctos malayanus), brown bear (Ursus arctos) and every other species are also used (the only exception being the Giant Panda which does not produce UDCA). Both the Asiatic black bear and the sun bear are listed as Vulnerable on the Red List of Threatened Animals published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. They were previously hunted for bile but factory farming has become common since hunting was banned in the 1980s.The bile can be harvested using several techniques, all of which require some degree of surgery, and may leave a permanent fistula or inserted catheter. A significant proportion of the bears die because of the stress of unskilled surgery or the infections which may occur.
Farmed bile bears are housed continuously in small cages which often prevent them from standing or sitting upright, or from turning around. These highly restrictive cage systems and the low level of skilled husbandry can lead to a wide range of welfare concerns including physical injuries, pain, severe mental stress and muscle atrophy. Some bears are caught as cubs and may be kept in these conditions for up to 30 years.The value of the bear products trade is estimated as high as $2 billion. The practice of factory farming bears for bile has been extensively condemned, including by Chinese physicians.Bolikhamsai Province
Bolikhamsai (also Borikhamxay, Lao: ບໍລິຄໍາໄຊ) is a province of Laos, located in the middle of the country. Pakxanh, Thaphabath, Pakkading, Borikhan, Viengthong and Khamkheu are its districts and Paksan is its capital city. The province is also home to Nam Theun 2 Dam, the country's largest hydroelectric project.Bolikhamsai Province, one of the provinces of Laos, covers an area of 14,863 square kilometres (5,739 sq mi). Bolikhansai Province borders Xiangkhouang Province to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Khammouan Province to the south, and Thailand to the west. The province includes the Annamite Range, stretching east to Vietnam, while to the west are the Mekong River and Thailand. At 3,700 square kilometres (1,400 sq mi), the Nakai–Nam Theun National Biodiversity Conservation Area in Bolikhamsai and Khammouane Provinces is the third largest protected area in Laos.Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre
The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre is a wildlife conservation and research centre for improving animal welfare and rehabilitation of the Malayan sun bear (Helarctos malayanus). It also aims to raise public awareness about the plight of the sun bears and to raise conservation awareness about this species.
The BSBCC was established as a non-profit organisation in Sabah in 2008. It is a joint project between sun bear researcher Wong Siew Te, Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP), the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) and the Sabah Forestry Department (SFD).
The BSBCC is neighboured to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sepilok and shares veterinary facilities, personnel, parking, access roads and ticket gates.Kinkajou
The kinkajou ( KING-kə-joo) (Potos flavus) is a tropical rainforest mammal of the family Procyonidae related to olingos, coatis, raccoons, and the ringtail and cacomistle. It is the only member of the genus Potos and is also known as the "honey bear" (a name that it shares with the sun bear). Kinkajous are arboreal, a lifestyle they evolved independently; they are not closely related to any other tree-dwelling mammal group (e.g. primates, some mustelids, etc).
Native to Central America and South America, this mostly frugivorous mammal is not an endangered species, though it is seldom seen by people because of its strict nocturnal habits. However, they are hunted for the pet trade, for their fur (to make wallets and horse saddles) and for their meat. The species has been included in Appendix III of CITES by Honduras, which means that exports from Honduras require an export permit and exports from other countries require a certificate of origin or re-export. They may live up to 40 years in captivity.Lava bear
The lava bear (also known as sand lapper, dwarf grizzly, and North American sun bear) is a variety of American black bear (Ursus americanus) found in the lava beds of south central Oregon. The animal was described as a very small bear with wooly light brown fur. The few lava bears that were killed or captured were a little larger than a badger. It was once thought to be a separate species. However, scientists who examined the specimens determined that the animals were stunted due to the harsh environment in which they lived. Today, it is acknowledged that lava bears never existed as a unique species.Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary
Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area covering 2,514.68 km2 (970.92 sq mi) in eastern Cambodia that was established in 1993. It is heavily forested and straddes Ratanakiri, Mondulkiri, and Kratie provinces. It is home to a variety of endangered wildlife such as banteng, tiger, gaur, dholes and sun bear, as well as leopards, Eld's deer, sambar deer, muntjacs and wild pigs. In addition, a number of rare birds are present: surveys have confirmed the presence of green peafowl, greater and lesser adjutant storks, sarus cranes, oriental pied hornbills, giant ibises, white-shouldered ibises, milky and wooly-necked storks, and vulture sp. (slender-billed and white-rumped), which are increasingly rare in most of South and Southeast Asia.
A Chinese company is planning to build a dam on the Srepok river, which would flood the surrounding villages and inundate more than a third of the sanctuary.Matthew Zapruder
Matthew Zapruder (1967) is an American poet, editor, translator, and professor.
His second poetry collection, The Pajamaist (Copper Canyon Press, 2006), won the 2007 William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and was chosen by Library Journal as one of the top ten poetry volumes of 2006. His first book, American Linden (Tupelo Press, 2002) won the Tupelo Press Editors' Prize. His most recent book of poetry, Sun Bear (Copper Canyon Press, 2014), brings the strangeness of poetry closer to everyday life.Oakland Zoo
The Oakland Zoo is a zoo located in the Grass Valley neighborhood of Oakland, California, United States. Established in 1922, it is managed by the Conservation Society of California, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of wildlife both locally and globally. The Zoo is home to over 700 native and exotic animals. It's recognized for its outstanding animal care, particularly its elephant care program, and for its Leed-certified, 17,000 square foot, state-of-the-art veterinary hospital—the largest wild animal veterinary facility in Northern California.
On July 20, 2018, the Oakland Zoo opened the California Trail opened to the public, focusing on this state’s remarkable native wildlife—both past and present.San Diego Zoo
The San Diego Zoo is a zoo in Balboa Park, San Diego, California, housing over more than 3,500 animals of more than 650 species and subspecies. Its parent organization, San Diego Zoo Global, is one of the largest zoological membership associations in the world, with more than 250,000 member households and 130,000 child memberships, representing more than a half million people. The San Diego Zoo was a pioneer in the concept of open-air, cageless exhibits that re-create natural animal habitats. It is one of the few zoos in the world that houses, and successfully breeds the giant panda. In 2013, the zoo added a new Australian Outback exhibit, providing an updated Australian animal experience. Another new exhibit, called Africa Rocks, opened in 2017.
It is privately moderated by the nonprofit San Diego Zoo Global on 100 acres (40 ha) of Balboa Park leased from the City of San Diego. The San Diego Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), and a member of the Zoological Association of America (ZAA) and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA). San Diego Zoo Global also operates the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research.Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre is located about 25 kilometres west of Sandakan in the state of Sabah, Malaysia.
The centre opened in 1964 as the first official orangutan rehabilitation project for rescued orphaned baby orangutans from logging sites, plantations, illegal hunting or kept as pets. The orphaned orangutans are trained to survive again in the wild and are released as soon as they are ready. The sanctuary is located within the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve which covers an area of 4,294 ha (10,610 acres), much of which is virgin rainforest. Today around 60 to 80 orangutans are living free in the reserve.
It has become one of Sabah's tourist attractions.In October 2014 the centre opened a new section where visitors can view the nursery area where the younger Orangutans first learn to be outside and play on a large climbing frame. This consists of 2 large indoor seating areas (one with air conditioning and one with fans only) with a large window that overlooks the play area. There is no additional charge to enter this part of the centre.
The Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre is neighboured to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre and shares veterinary facilities, personnel, parking, access roads and ticket gates.
Entry Costs (Malaysian/ Non-Malaysian nationals):
Adult- RM5/ RM30
Child- RM2/ RM15
Ticket is valid for the day of purchase, so you can attend both feeding times on the same ticket.
Camera Cost: RM10
Saturday to Thursday- 9am to 12pm and 2pm to 4pm. Fridays 9am-11am and 2pm to 4pm.
Orangutan feeding times: 10am and 3pm. It is recommended to arrive 30 minutes before feeding time.
Facilities: Souvenir shop, information center showing a video 6 times a day, cafe and toilets.
Getting there: Many organised tours leave from around Sabah at varying prices. Public bus #14 departs from Sandakan taking approximately 45–60 minutes, costing RM5. The Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan bus can also drop you at junction Jalan Sepilok, around 2.5 km from the Center. Journey approximately 5 hours from KK.
Taxis are usually available outside the centre (RM40 to Sandakan).Sun Bear (author)
Vincent LaDuke, more commonly known by the name, Sun Bear (1929-1992) was a New Age author of Ojibwe descent. He was born on August 31, 1929 on the White Earth Indian Reservation to Louis and Judith La Duke. He was the father of activist, author, and former Green Party Vice Presidential Candidate Winona La Duke.He was perhaps best known for his Medicine Wheel Gatherings, New Age weekend campout retreats with paid workshops and activities for spiritual seekers, which were denounced and picketed by the American Indian Movement.Sun Bear Concerts
Sun Bear Concerts is a live album of solo improvisations by jazz pianist Keith Jarrett. The album was recorded in Japan in 1976. It was released as a ten-LP set and then as a six-CD box set.Ursid hybrid
An ursid hybrid is an animal with parents from two different species or subspecies of the Ursidae (bear) family. Species and subspecies of bear known to have produced offspring with another bear species or subspecies include brown bears, black bears, grizzly bears and polar bears, all of which are members of the Ursus genus. Bears not included in Ursus, such as the giant panda, are probably unable to produce hybrids. Note all of the confirmed hybrids listed here have been in captivity (except grizzly/polar bear), but there have been hybrids in the wild.
A recent study found genetic evidence of multiple instances and species combinations where genetic material has passed the species boundary in bears (a process called introgression by geneticists). Specifically, species with evidence of past intermingling were (1) brown bear and American black bear, (2) brown bear and polar bear, (3) American black bear and Asian black bear, (4) bears currently distributed in Asia (sloth bear, sun bear and Asian black bear). Overall, this study shows that evolution in the bear family (Ursidae) has not been strictly bifurcating, but instead showed complex evolutionary relationships.Wellington Zoo
Wellington Zoo is nestled in the green belt of Wellington, New Zealand. Now over 100 years old, it was the country's first zoo and has 13-hectare (32-acre) dedicated to over 100 species of fauna from across the globe. Wellington Zoo is a significant contributor to conservation efforts including breeding programs for endangered species such as the sun bear and Sumatran tiger, as well as spreading conservation and sustainability messages to the wider community.Western Forest Complex
The Western Forest Complex, straddling two countries, Thailand and Myanmar, including 19 national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, is the main biodiversity conservation corridor of the region. Covering 18,730 km2, it is one of the largest protected territories in Southeast Asia. The geography of the Western Forest Complex ranges from lowlands to the mountains of the Thai highlands and the Dawna-Tenasserim Hills.Because of its large size, it supports diverse large mammal fauna, including Indochinese tiger, Indochinese leopard, dhole, clouded leopard, sun bear, 10 species of primates (all five of the region’s macaques), gaur, banteng, water buffalo, elephant, tapir, and four of Thailand's five deer species. Altogether 153 mammal species, 490 bird species, 41 reptiles, and 108 species of fish are confirmed in the area.Wildlife of Bangladesh
The wildlife of Bangladesh includes Bangladesh's flora and fauna.
Bangladesh is home to roughly 53 species of amphibian, 19 species of marine reptiles, 139 species of reptile, 380 species of birds, 116 species of mammals and 5 species of marine mammals. In addition to the large bird count, a further 310 species of migratory birds swell bird numbers each year. It has the Bengal tiger, Asian elephant, hoolock gibbon, Asian black bear and other flagship species. The vast majority of these creatures currently dwell in an area of land that is some 150,000 sq kilometers in size. However this does not mean all is well with the country’s natural heritage. So far a number of creatures have disappeared completely from the country and a further 201 species are threatened. The dhole, also called the Asiatic wild dog, is now endangered by habitat and prey-species loss and human persecution. Notable animal species that have disappeared from Bangladesh are the greater one-horned rhinoceros, the Asian two-horned rhinoceros, the gaur, the banteng, swamp deer, nilgai, Indian wolf, wild water buffalo, marsh crocodile and common peafowl.
The majority of the human population lives in or around large cities and this has helped to limit deforestation to some extent. However, the growth rate continues to increase and this has placed large demands on the environment and lead to subsequent clearing of numerous natural habitats. Though several areas are protected under law, a large portion of Bangladeshi wildlife is threatened by this growth.
In 2016, conservationists surveying the super-remote, little-known Chittagong Hill Tracts region of Bangladesh took the country’s first ever photos of the sun bear and gaur. Moreover, the team also captured photos of the Himalayan serow, Asian golden cat, sambar deer, barking deer, leopard cat and Dhole. Locals in the Chittagong Hill Tracts led conservationists to a new population of Arakan forest turtle. Once thought extinct, the critically endangered species was assumed only to survive in neighbouring Myanmar.Wong Siew Te
Wong Siew Te (born 16 May 1969) is a Malaysian wildlife biologist known for his studies on the Malayan sun bear and the foundation of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sandakan, Sabah.
Extant Carnivora species