Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus)

Bear Facts

  • Very little is known about the Sun Bear with accurate numbers unknown.
  • Classed as an endangered species.
  • Captured for the pet trade, restaurant trade, sale of paws and gall bladders.
  • The bear is often boiled alive to be eaten as a delicacy at banquets in Asia. It is believed the bear’s fear tenderises the meat.
  • Threatened by habitat destruction and forest fires.
  • The smallest of the bear species not much bigger than a dog, with bandy legs and a very long, flexible tongue for reaching honey and insects.
  • They have a ‘U’ shaped crescent on their chests which gives rise to their name.
  • Found in the tropical forests of Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo and Sumatra.
  • Lifespan in the wild is unknown.
  • Cubs usually stay with their mother for several years.
  • CITES Appendix I.