Class: Mammalia (Mammals)
Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos,
Burma, the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra,
and Borneo in Asia.
Dense tropical and subtropical forest
Insects or sap. Other food choices include small birds, fruit, honey, lizards, rodents, and soft parts of palm trees. Strong jaws and teeth even help this bear open coconuts!
Conversion of thousands of square miles of lowland forest to agricultural uses in Southeast Asia and the killing of bears by settlers are decimating the sun bear population. Bear habitat is destroyed when land is cleared to create coffee, rubber, and oil palm plantations. Meanwhile, reserves and parks are magnets for poachers because they often are the only areas where large animals remain. For instance, more than 60 well-used poacher camps were discovered recently in a Thai reserve. Poachers sell the bears as pets or for their parts. The insularization of reserves as the surrounding lands are developed compounds the problem, and because a sun bear’s basic habitat needs are relatively unknown, existing reserves may not even be providing appropriate habitat. Conservation groups and government managers have shown little interest in sun bears, mainly because little is known about them.
• The sun bear is the smallest of the world's eight bear species
• In the Malay language, sun bears are called basindo nan tenggil, which means “he who likes to sit high.”
• “Dog bear,” “Malay bear,” and “honey bear” are common nicknames for the sun bear.