General information on the Sun Bear
The Malayan Sun bear is one of the smallest bears in its genus. A full grown adult male will grow up to roughly four feet whilst standing straight on its hind legs, but despite the bear’s small size it can pose a threat to any larger predator. It weighs a mere 64kg or 140 pounds and can grow up to 1.2 - 1.5m tall. The average sun bear has a life span of 25 years and the females usually have 2 cubs after 3 and a half months of gestation.
The bear originally got its name from having a “U” shaped golden crescent on its chest. The bears are omnivores, using their long claws to dig for honey and grubs, which they eat with their long tongues. If they cannot find any grubs they will go for any small reptiles or rodents. They are very rare to tropical rainforests of southern China, Burma, Malaysia, Sumatra, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Borneo.The bears rely on their good sense of smell as their eyesight is not so good.
Reasons for endangerment
The Malayan sun bear is suffering greatly from deforestation and habitat loss. The sun bear comes into great conflict with human activities. One example of this is when food sources run out due to manmade measures, the bears are forced onto agricultural land and are mostly shot or trapped by protective farmers. Poaching is another major issue for this bear due to local spiritual beliefs that the bear contains medical healing powers. They are classed as endangered; it is thought that if we do not act, within 15 years this wonderful species will be extinct.
Article by RHN.