CONTENTS

Living OrganismsAnimalia / Craniata / Mammalia / Carnivora / Ursidae / Helarctos / Species

Helarctos malayanus - Sun bear (Click photographs/illustrations for full picture & further details)

Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full-page view with caption Click here for full-page view with caption Click here for full-page view with caption Click here for full-page view with caption Click here for full-page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full-page view with caption

INDEX - INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

APPEARANCE / MORPHOLOGY

LIFE STAGES / NATURAL DIET / PHYSIOLOGY

BEHAVIOUR

HABITAT & RANGE

CONSERVATION

Return to top of page

General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • [Genus] anmamiticus, [Genus] euryspilus, [Genus] wardi. (B141)

  • Ursus malayanus (B147, B424, J366.52.w1)
  • Helarctos anmamiticus Heude, 1901 (B424, D246)
  • Helarctos malayanus euryspilus (Borneo) (B285.w4)
  • Helarctos euryspilus Horsfield, 1825 (D246)
  • Beruang (B423)
  • Beruang Anjing (dog-bear) (Malay, for young or small bears)(D246)
  • Beruand Orang (man bear) (Malay, for adult) (D246)
  • Bruan (Malay, for adult) (D246)
  • Bruang (Malay, for adult) (B426.8.w8, D246)
  • Dog bear (B285.w4)
  • Honey bear (B285.w4)
  • Khwe-wun (Burmese) (B426.8.w8, D246)
  • Malay bear (B285.w4)
  • Malayan bear (D246)
  • Malayan sun bear (B285.w4)
  • Malaienbär (German) (B144, D246)
  • Men-kloit (Mongolian) (B426.8.w8, D246)
  • Mi-Khon (Thai) (D246)
  • Mi-kong (Shan) (B426.8.w8, D246)
  • Mi-Maa (Thai) (D246)
  • Mu-thu (Karen) (B426.8.w8, )
  • Mu-thus (Karen) (D246)
  • Ours de Malaisie (French) (D246)
  • Ours des Cocotiers (f) (W2.15Mar06.w2)
  • Ours malais (French) (B144, W2.15Mar06.w2)
  • Oso de sol (s) (W2.15Mar06.w2)
  • Oso malayo (s) (W2.15Mar06.w2)
  • Ta-thu (Karen) (B426.8.w8, D246)
  • Tsap (Kachin) (B426.8.w8, D246)
  • Yun-king (Chinese) (B426.8.w8, D246)
  • Wat-wun (Burmese) (B426.8.w8, D246)

Names for new-borns / juveniles

Cub

Names for males

Boar

Names for females

Sow

Return to top of page

General Appearance

Adult:

"Bears have a big head; a large, heavily built body; short, powerful limbs; a short tail; and small eyes. The ears are small, rounded, and erect." (B147)

  • Bears are strongly built, with a broad, longish head bearing short round ears and relatively small eyes. The lips are free from the gums, and the molars are broad and nearly flat. They have a heavy body and a very short tail. They are plantigrade, with five toes, approximately equal in length, to each paw; the paws are wider than those of canids (Canidae - Dogs, foxes (Family)) and the curved, non-retractile claws are longer and stronger. (B144, B288, B424)
  • Helarctos malayanus is the smallest of the bears, stocky, with a short, flexible muzzle and a long slender tongue. The forelimbs are more bowed than those of other bears, the large feet turn inward to a greater extent, the claws are pointed and strongly curved (sickle shaped) and the soles are hairless. The fur is short, black to dark brown, with a horseshoe-shaped ("U" shaped) marking (sometimes circular) on the chest, whitish to pale orange-yellow in colour, and a pale muzzle with the paler area reaching to above, rather than below, the eyes. There are whorls on the forehead and behind the ears. (B144, B147, B424, D246, V.w97)

Newborn:

  • Grey-black; the muzzle is pale brown or white, the chest bears a U-shaped dirty-white mark. (D246, )

Similar Species

  • The sun bear is distinguished from other bears by its smaller size, short sleek coat, with whorls on the forehead and behind the ears, the modified rhinarium, and the lips and tongue being more protrusible. Additionally, the forelimbs are more bowed and the feet turn inward. (D246)
    • The sun bear is distinguished from Ursus thibetanus - Asiatic black bear by its short hair, smaller, round, ears, the white hair on the muzzle reaching to above, rather than below, the eyes, and the presence of whorls on the forehead and behind the ears. The whitish mark on the upper chest is usually "U" shaped. (B424)
    • The ears differ from those of Ursus americanus - American black bear in being shorter, narrower and simpler. (D246)

Sexual Dimorphism

  • Males are larger than females in all the bears; on average, males tend to be about 20% larger than female bears. (B147, B422.w14)

Return to top of page

References

Species Authors & Referees

Editor: Dr Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS (V.w5)
Referee: Dave M. Augeri, Ph.D. (V.w97)

ORGANISATIONS

ELECTRONIC LIBRARY
(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

Return to top of page

Husbandry Information

Notes

  • Bears are large, strong mammals, adapted to climbing trees and/or difficult terrain, and with claws adapted for climbing and/or digging. Their ability to climb and to claw open trees should be remembered in designing enclosures. 
  • Bears are intelligent, curious and adaptable. They are predominantly diurnal, as seen in undisturbed habitats in the wild, and are mainly solitary. 
  • The behavioural, social and psychological requirements of bears must be taken into consideration in enclosure design and husbandry.

Management Techniques

Return to top of page

Appearance / Morphology

Measurement & Weight

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.

LENGTH
Adult: 
About 1.0 - 1.4 m.
Newborns: About 18 cm.

HEIGHT
Adults and sub-adults: Shoulder height is about 0.7 m.
Juveniles: --

WEIGHT
Adult: 
About 25 - 65 kg, usually under 50 kg in the wild (55 - 143 lb, usually under 110 lb).
Newborns: 255 - 325 g (9.0 - 11.5oz)

GROWTH RATE

  • The limited data available includes a weight increase from 300g to 430g in the first week for one hand-reared cub, and a female cub weighing 1.96 kg at 47 days. Additional data includes averages of 1.8 kg at one month, 4.0 kg at two months and 6.8 kg at three months. 

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Sun bear Helarctos malayanus - Appearance-Morphology- Measurement and Weight (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Head and Neck

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

Click here for full-page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full-page view with caption Click here for full-page view with caption

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.

GENERAL HEAD STRUCTURE:
Adult:

  • Sun bears have a short but flexible muzzle; the rhinarium extends to the upper lip, and in side view the lateral portions of the rhinarium conceal the nasal septum. They have protrusible lips and a long tongue. There are no vibrissae on the snout. The ears are small and round. The sun bear has a round, wide skull, with a distinct sagittal crest, wide zygomatic arch, relatively swollen tympanic bullae (compared to Ursus thibetanus - Asiatic black bear) and short jaws.

Newborn: --

DENTITION:
Adult:
The dental formula is i3/3, c1/1, p3-4/3, m2/3, total 38-40. The canines are stout and powerful and the incisors well developed, but the upper toothrow is contracted, some premolars may be absent and the molars are relatively small.

EYES:

  • Adult: Bears have small eyes and a well-developed nictitating membrane.
  • Newborn: Cubs are blind at birth, the eyes closed.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Sun bear Helarctos malayanus - Appearance-Morphology- Head and Neck (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Legs, Spine and Tracks

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.
  • The sun bear's forelimbs are bowed, the feet turning inwards. Each foot bears five large toes with powerful, well curved (sickle shaped) claws; the hind foot is 180 - 210 mm long. The gait is faster and less deliberate than that of Ursus thibetanus - Asiatic black bear. The hindlimbs have adaptations for climbing.
  • Bears have a caudal extension to the shoulder blade (scapula), called the post-scapular fossa, from which the subscapularis minor muscle arises; this is used in climbing, pulling the bear's body up.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Sun bear Helarctos malayanus - Appearance-Morphology- Legs, Spine and Tracks (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Tail

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.
  • The sun bear has a short tail, only about 30 - 70 mm (1.2 - 2.8 ins) long.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Sun bear Helarctos malayanus - Appearance-Morphology-Tail (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Skin / Coat / Pelage

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full-page view with caption

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.

Adult:

  • The coat is short and black or very dark brown; the undercoat is very thick and black, with light guard hairs. The muzzle is pale (whitish, grey or orangish), with this colouring reaching to past the eyes. The feet are sometimes pale also. On the chest is a crescent, "U" or doughnut-shaped mark which may be white, ochre, buff or orange, and may extend onto the neck. 

Adult Colour variations:

  • Rare individuals may have different colouring, such as reddish fur and no chest mark.

Newborn/Juvenile:

  • Cubs are grey-black, the muzzle is pale brown or white, and there is a U-shaped dirty-white mark on the chest.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Sun bear Helarctos malayanus - Appearance- Morphology- Skin-Coat-Pelage (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Detailed Anatomy Notes
(Summary information provided for pertinent species-specific data cross-referenced in Wildpro)

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.
  • Bears do not have any major anatomical specialisations.

Further information is available within this section on the brain, male and female reproductive organs, gastrointestinal system, urinary system and musculoskeletal system.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Sun bear Helarctos malayanus - Detailed Anatomy Notes (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Life Stages / Natural Diet / Physiology

Life Stages

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.

BREEDING SEASON: Data from bears in zoos indicate breeding at any time of the year. Fecal steroid (oestradiol and progesterone) data from female bears in a wildlife rehabilitation centre in Sarawak, Malaysia, indicate seasonal breeding (oestradiol peak August to September, progesterone peak November to January, in unmated females) and a female wild sun bear in Sabah, Malaysia was accompanied by a male in late October.

OESTRUS/OVULATION: Sun bears are polyoestrous. Behavioural oestrus usually lasts just one or two days but may extend to as long as five to seven days. Spontaneous ovulation may occur in unmated bears. Females may return to oestrus within days after the death of a newborn cub.

GESTATION/PREGNANCY: Gestation length is variable; gestations of just three months (95-96 days) have been recorded in captivity, but also pregnancies of 174 to 240 days, suggesting delayed implantation sometimes occurs.

PARTURITION/BIRTH: Sun bears appear to be non-seasonal breeders. Births in zoos have occurred at all times of the year. In Tenasserim, Burma, cubs are born at the start of the hot weather.

NEONATAL/DEVELOPMENT: Cubs are born blind, deaf, helpless and hairless. The eyes open at 20-30 days, the first teeth appear at 35 - 45 days, hearing develops and improves over the first 50 days, cubs start trying to walk from 25-35 days. External stimulation is required for urination and defecation in the first two months. Cubs first accompany their dam from about 55-65 days and start eating solid food at 65-85 days. The deciduous canines are shed in the seventh month and adult dentition is present by about 18 months.

LITTER SIZE: Sun bears produce one or two cubs per litter.

TIME BETWEEN LITTERS / LITTERS PER YEAR: The normal inter-litter interval is not known. In one zoo, following loss of a cub at seven weeks, a second litter was born less than five months after the first.

LACTATION / MILK PRODUCTION: Little information is available. A single milk sample taken at 90 days of lactation contained 10.8 % fat, 8.4 % protein, 3.2 % lactose, and had a calculated gross energy content of 6.7 kJ/g.

SEXUAL MATURITY: These bears reach sexual maturity at two to three years old.

MALE SEASONAL VARIATION: No clear seasonal variation, but individual males may show sustained increases in testosterone at intervals of four to six months. Increases in testosterone in male bears in zoos were noted in April-May, June-July and September-October.

LONGEVITY / MORTALITY: Sun bears in zoos have lived as long as 33 years.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Sun bear Helarctos malayanus - Life Stages (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Natural Diet

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.

NATURAL DIET: 

  • Sun bears are omnivorous. Major items in their diets include invertebrates (beetles, beetle larvae, termites, earthworms and others), and fruits, with figs being particularly important outside the main fruiting season. 
  • Additionally, they eat honey, flowers, acorns and other plant material. 
  • Vertebrates (including birds, reptiles and small mammals) are eaten less often. 
  • Food in human garbage may be eaten by some individuals.

QUANTITY EATEN: --

STUDY METHODS: Diets have been studied by observation of bears feeding, by inspection of feeding sites after bears had left, and by examination of scats (faeces).

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Sun bear Helarctos malayanus - Natural Diet (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Hibernation / Aestivation

EDITORIAL SUMMARY The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.
  • The sun bear does not hibernate or enter dormancy.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Sun bear Helarctos malayanus - Hibernation - Aestivation (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Haematology / Biochemistry

EDITORIAL SUMMARY The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.

HAEMATOLOGY:

BIOCHEMISTRY:

  • The biochemistry values of bears are similar to those of domestic dogs.
  • In one study, sun bears were found to have considerably higher mean total cholesterol values than published values found in domestic cats and dogs, and slightly higher triacylglyceride concentrations. Both HDL and LDL cholesterol concentrations were moderate when compared with three other bear species and six canid species tested in this study; LDL appeared to be slightly elevated compared to values for domestic dogs.
  • Also see Reference Page:

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Literature Reports: Sun bear Helarctos malayanus - Haematology - Biochemistry Notes

Return to top of page

Detailed Physiology Notes
(Summary information provided for pertinent species-specific data cross-referenced in Wildpro)

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.

METABOLISM (TEMPERATURE): The normal rectal temperature of adult bears is 37.5 - 38.3 °C (99.6 - 101.0 °F). 

RESPIRATORY SYSTEM (RESPIRATION): The normal respiratory rate of bears is 15 - 30 breaths per minute (the higher rates have been recorded in hot weather).

CIRCULATORY SYSTEM (PULSE/HEART RATE): The normal heart rate of bears is 60 - 90 beats per minute (the higher rates are found in cubs).

GASTROINTESTINAL SYSTEM (FAECES AND GUT MOTILITY): The average scat weight was 329 g (range 73 -1,119 g) during a study in Borneo.

URINARY SYSTEM (URINE): --

CHROMOSOMES: 2n = 74 Chromosomes

MUSCULO-SKELETAL SYSTEM:

SPECIAL SENSES AND VOCALISATIONS:

  • Bears generally have moderate eyesight and hearing but an excellent sense of smell. 
  • Sun bears grunt and snuffle while searching for insects, occasionally produce louder roars and hoarse grunts, and rarely give a short bark.
  • Cubs may make a relaxed "humming", a nursing "mumming" and a distressed "squawking/squalling". Females use a "nickering" to call cubs to follow, and a more insistent version of this call in the face of upset or danger.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Sun bear Helarctos malayanus - Detailed Physiology Notes (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.
  • Sun bears feed on a wide variety of foods, including crops such as sweet potato, manioc and coconut palms (ripping out and eating the soft growing point of coconut palms), in an opportunistic fashion. They also prey opportunistically on small vertebrates.
  • These bears climb trees to feed on available fruits.
  • Sun bears will tear open trees to reach insects, honey and larvae, feed on insects in rotten wood, and dig up termite mounds, eating the termites directly from the broken mound, or by sitting holding a piece of the mound and taking the termites from the mound, or by licking them off each paw in turn. 

Further information on diet is provided in Sun bear Helarctos malayanus - Natural Diet (Literature Reports)

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Sun bear Helarctos malayanus - Feeding Behaviour (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Parental Behaviour

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.
  • Cubs are kept on the ground, typically in the shelter of the buttress roots of a large tree. The mother and cubs stay together until the cubs are nearly fully grown. 
  • Observation in captivity has shown that the mother will move and carry young cubs in her mouth; later she will carry one or both cubs in her forepaws, walking on her hind legs. She will also call to cubs for them to follow her.
  • A captive female was noted initially to suckle her cubs mainly on her lower nipples, curling round them. Later the upper nipples were used more and she would lie on her back while they suckled.

Further information on reproduction is provided in Sun bear Helarctos malayanus - Life Stages (Literature Reports)

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Sun bear Helarctos malayanus - Parental Behaviour (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Social Behaviour / Territoriality / Predation / Learning

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.
  • Home ranges measured for sun bears varied from 1.2 -1.3 km² for females and 4.0-5.1 km² for males in Sabah, Malaysia, to an average of 14.1 km² for four males in Bornean rainforest. The Bornean bears had core areas of mean size 0.68 km² and while the overall home ranges showed considerable overlap, the core areas did not overlap. 
  • The mean daily distance travelled was about 1.5 km, but varied from 141 to 5,600 m. Sun bears will preferentially run from danger, but will attack if they cannot flee. Studies indicate that they are generally solitary but may be seen as families (mother and young) or as a pair around the time of mating. 
  • Hybridisation with Melursus ursinus - Sloth bear has been recorded in captivity.
  • Predators include the tiger and the clouded leopard.
  • Sun bears use ground nests in the cavities of standing or fallen trees, or in holes under exposed roots; they also rest on high branches and may bend branches to form a day nest or lookout post. See also: Sun bear Helarctos malayanus - Nests - Burrows - Shelters (Literature Reports)

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Sun bear Helarctos malayanus - Social Behaviour - Territoriality - Predation - Learning (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Sexual Behaviour

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.
  • A male sun bear will stay close to a female during the breeding season and may mount her repeatedly. Also during the oestrus period he shows increased olfactory interest in the female's anogenital area and in her faeces. Aggressive behaviours and mate guarding have not been observed.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Sun bear Helarctos malayanus - Sexual Behaviour (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Activity Patterns, Self-grooming and Navigation

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.

ACTIVITY PATTERNS: Sun bears have a gait on the ground which appears peculiar, because the feet turn inwards. This bear is highly arboreal, climbing well, feeding in trees and even sleeping in trees.

SELF-GROOMING: --

CIRCADIAN RHYTHM: Different studies have found these bears to be mainly diurnal, mainly nocturnal or most active around dawn and dusk (crepuscular). The daily activity pattern of this bear may vary depending on area and degree of human disturbance; there are also individual variations.

SPEED OF MOVEMENT: --

NAVIGATION: --

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Sun bear Helarctos malayanus - Activity Patterns, Grooming and Navigation Behaviour (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Habitat and Range

General Habitat Type

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.
  • The sun bear inhabits dense tropical forests, usually below 500 m, but it may be found at higher altitudes in some areas.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Sun bear Helarctos malayanus - Nests - Burrows - Shelters (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Nests / Burrows / Shelters

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.
  • Sun bears rest high up on tree branches and may build tree nests immediately before use. 
  • Ground nests are usually in the cavity of either a standing or fallen (or logged) hollow tree, on a dry soft floor formed from wood debris. A depression 0.8 m diameter may be found where the bear has been lying. When trees provide a large space, bears usually rest in one corner.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

See also: Sun bear Helarctos malayanus - Social Behaviour - Territoriality - Predation - Learning (Literature Reports) - Nest Use

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Sun bear Helarctos malayanus - Nests - Burrows - Shelters (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.
  • Historically, sun bears were found across Burma (Myanmar), Indochina and Thailand, through the Malay Peninsula to Sumatra and (Helarctos malayanus euryspilus) Borneo. They are thought to be extinct now in the south Yunnan Province of China and the Bangladesh border with India and Burma (Myanmar). Populations are present in Thailand, Burma (particularly the dense northern and southern forests), Laos and Cambodia, Borneo (northern Sarawak, Sabah) and Sumatra (Kalimantan), possibly Vietnam (no information available) and possibly the Chittagong hills of Bangladesh. There is recent evidence of a small population remaining in Manipur, India.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

Maps of their range are provided in B442 - Bears. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan - Chapter 11 [full text provided]

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Sun bear Helarctos malayanus - Distribution & Movement (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Conservation

Species variation

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.
  • Helarctos malayanus is monotypic.
  • Subspecific status has been suggested, but not accepted, for sun bears from Borneo, and for sun bears from China.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Sun bear Helarctos malayanus - Species Variation (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Conservation Status

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.

WILD POPULATION - IMPORTANCE: Sun bears are rare. While the exact population size is not known, populations are known to be declining drastically, and not all countries in the bear's range accept CITES.

GENERAL LEGISLATION: Wildlife laws relating to sun bears vary between range states, from full protection to the bear being a listed game species. In countries where it is protected by law, wildlife law enforcement is limited.

CITES LISTING: Appendix I. (W354.Aug11.w1)

RED-DATA LIST STATUS: Data Deficient. (W2.15Mar06.w2)

THREATS: The main threats to the sun bear are habitat loss and hunting for body parts such as the gallbladder.

PEST STATUS / PEST POPULATIONS: Bears which forage on agricultural crops, and destroy crops such as oil palms and coconut trees by feeding, are considered to be pests.

CAPTIVE POPULATIONS: There are about 140 sun bears in zoos. The number of bears being kept as pets legally or illegally in range states is unknown.

TRADE AND USE: Sun bears are hunted for sale of body parts, particularly gallbladders, and for food. When females are killed, cubs are sold.

For more information see: B442: Bears. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan - full text provided

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Sun bear Helarctos malayanus - Conservation Status (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page