Sun Bear

April 19, 2022

The Sun Bear is the smallest, very arboreal yet rarely studied bear. The Sun Bear is the second oldest bear species besides the giant panda.

The Sun Bears get their name from the pale horseshoe shape on their chests. The shape looks a lot like the setting or rising sun.

There is more to learn about the Sun Bear, and the information below will widen our understanding;

Interesting Facts about the Sun Bear

  • The Sun Bears have very long tongues, 20-25cm long. The tongues help extract honey from the beehives. Hence, they have an alternative name, “honey bear” or “beruang madu” in Malay and Indonesian regions.
  • The Sun bears have a keen sense of smell, more developed than human beings. The Sun Bears use their sense of smell and touch to find and manipulate food.
  • Sun Bears show behaviors such as hugging, head bobbing and mock fighting with their mate during the mating season.
  • They have a gestation period of between 95 to 174 days.
  • Man is the main predator of the Sun Bear. Also, Tigers and Leopards are potential raiders.
  • A Sun Bear can have one cub, and it does not have a defined breeding season. The Cubs are born in a den or the holes of trees. The cubs are blind and helpless at birth, but they can move around at 2 months. The Cubs begin weaning at 4 months. Parental love and care are essential for the Cubs. Therefore, they stay under the care of their mothers for up to two years and beyond.
  • The Sun Bears are intelligent; they use complex facial movements to communicate. Also, they can memorize where items are, and they use their strength to their utmost advantage.
  • The Sun Bears reside in tropical lowland forests, and they are one of the bear species available in SE Asia. The Sun Bears are primarily active during the day, but they do not hibernate; instead, they build nests on trees to sleep in.
  • The population of Sun Bears has reduced by at least 30% in the last 30 years. The Sun Bear is at high risk of elimination from the wild. 
  • The Sun bears face three main threats;
    • Habitat loss through degradation of the forest and deforestation.
    • Commercial hunting; people hunt the Sun Bear for their gallbladders for use in Chinese folk medicine. Also, the Bear paws are used as an expensive delicacy.
    • Pet Trade: Sun Bears are the smallest bear species in the world. Therefore, their cubs are considered very cute, and they are on-demand as pets.


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