Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sun Bear

Adult Sun Bear
Phylum : Chordata
Class : Mammalia
Order : Carnivora
Family : Ursidae
Genus : Helarctos
Species : malayanus

Height : 4ft (1.2m)
Weight : 65-130lbs (30-60kg)

IUCN Status : Vulnerable

The Sun Bear is the smallest of the bear species. They can be found in dense, forested areas of South East Asia, and are named for a bright patch on their chests which resemble the rising sun.

Sun Bears are, ironically, nocturnal. During the night they forage around in the forest, looking for berries, rodents, insects, and a whole plethora of other foods to eat. They have long claw that help to get inside termite nests, and amazingly long tongues which are used for extracting honey.

Sun Bears Have Really Long Tongues!
It is believed that Sun Bears are monogamous, since adults are often spotted in pairs. Because of the warm climate, Sun Bears do not hibernate, nor do they have a set breeding season. Cubs are born hairless and helpless, and require a great deal of care from their mothers. Mother Sun Bears will even stand on their hind legs and carry their cubs from place to place. They are one of only a few bear species that exhibit this type of behavior.

Sun Bears are incredibly elusive, and are listed as an endangered species. Their secretive nature makes it very difficult for us to study them in the wild and determine their total numbers. Deforestation and poaching have been major negative factors on the species.

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