The sun bear is also known as the Malayan Sun Bear and Honey bear. It is from the species of the family Ursidae which occurs in the tropical forest of Southeast Asia. It is the smallest of all the 8 bear species. It is nearly 70 centimeters long and weighs up to 25-70 kilograms. The sun bears tree-dwelling animals and because of that, it has large paws, strongly curved claws and small round ears, and a short snout. The sun bears mostly eat honey, invertebrates, and fruits. The fur on their body is mostly jet black to avoid it from getting attacked by other animals and also it has long and sharp claws that allow it to tear and open a tree to eat insects such as honey bees. Sun bears get their name from the characteristic orange-colored chest patch. The sun bear is a tree-living animal. It is very good at climbing trees and also sleeps on trees that are approximately 7 meters long. Sun bears are most active during the day and remain alone but sometimes occur in pairs. Sun bears do not Hibernate as they are able to get food resources throughout the year. Sun bears are omnivorous animals and small insects such as ants, beetles, and also are honey, birds, and deer's. Sun bears are sexually active throughout the year and the young ones become sexually active at the age of four. The cubs are always known to be with their mothers for at least three years.
Sun bears are found in the Tropical lowland forest of southeast Asia. The sun bears are also found in different regions such as northeastern India to the north and extend south to Bangladesh, Nepal, and Indonesia.
The Sun bears are very important for nature as their behavior helps in maintaining the health of the forest. They keep the termite population down which helps in the growth of the tropical trees. They also help in dispersing the seeds of various plants and help to grow the plants all around the forest. The dig to search for the invertebrates in the solid helps IN enhancing the forest nutrient cycle as it causes the mixture of rich soil with poor soil. While searching for honey on the trees, they tear down the bark of the tree which helps the animals such as flying squirrels and the hornbills to create a nesting site.
The existence of Sun bears highly depends on the forests but the deforestation happening in the parts of Southeast Asia is destroying their habitat. The sun bears are also threatened by the illegal hunting that is happening in the forests. Sun bears are mostly hunted for their gallbladder which is used for Chinese medicines and bear paws. Sun bears are also threatened by the human habitat and are mostly killed by humans when they enter agricultural lands. Hunting is illegal in every country but despite that these creatures are killed and are also kept as a pet due to their small size. Over the past three decades, the global population of Sun bears has declined by 35% and the International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN) has listed Sun bears as vulnerable animals.
Scientific Name for Sun Bear
Sun bear is a carnivorous mammal that belongs to the family of Ursidae and its subfamily is Ursinae. It belongs to the same family which includes animals such as polar bears, brown bears, giant pandas, and brown bears. The distinctive feature of the sun bear is the presence of orange to cremish patches on their chest.
In the year 1821, a British statesman by the name of Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles first described the Sun bear in Sumatra and gave it the scientific name of Ursus malayanus. In the year 1825, Thomas Horsfield who was an American naturalist replaced the genus of Sun bear from Ursus to Helarctos and finalized the scientific name of sun bear as Helarctos malayanus.
Based on the variation of its size and its habitat it has two subspecies which are the Malayan sun bear (H. m. malayanus) that occurs on the Sumatra and other Asian mainlands and the Bornean sun bear (H. m. euryspilus) which occurs in Borneo.