Sun Bear Helarctos malayanus

Sun Bear Helarctos malayanus euryspilus

Sun Bear Helarctos malayanus


Locations: Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam.

Sun Bears are a forest-dependent species, favouring interior mature and/or heterogeneously structured primary forests (Augeri 2005). There are two ecologically distinct categories of tropical forest that comprise their natural range, distinguished by differences in climate, phenology, and floristic composition: seasonal evergreen and deciduous forest in the mainland (north of the Isthmus of Kra) and aseasonal evergreen rainforest in Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo.

#Sunbears are a boisterous, energetic small bear species that are forest dependent. Their populations in Asia have been decimated by #palmoil #deforestation They are vulnerable on @IUCNredlist. Protect them with a #Boycott4Wildlife

Deforestation rates and reported high volumes of hunting and trade throughout the Sun Bear range form the basis for this assessment. Sun Bears are forest dependent species, and, thus area of forest loss is directly linked with population decline.

IUCN red list

Southeast Asia, which comprises nearly all of the species global range, has experienced a higher relative rate of forest loss over the past 30 years than any other part of the world (Sodhi et al. 2004, 2010; Miettinen et al. 2011; Margono et al. 2012, 2014; Dong et al. 2014). Extent of occurrence (EOO) appears to be shrinking, with just a few individuals left in China and Bangladesh, and rapid decline in Vietnam (projected 50–80% decline in the next 30 years). Area of occupancy (AOO) is declining and becoming increasingly fragmented, most noticeably in Borneo and Sumatra. In mainland Southeast Asia, some patches in southern Myanmar, central Thailand, southern Cambodia, and southern Vietnam appear to be completely isolated. Deforestation and degradation is expected to continue into the future. Coupled with this, and the persistent trade in bears and bear parts, sun bear populations are expected to decline even more rapidly in the future.

An emaciated sun bear desperately searches for food on a palm oil plantation

“We were surprised. None of us have ever seen anything like it,” said one worker, reported by the Borneo Post, Sunday, February 1, 2015.

According to the workers, this animal crawls, has sharp claws. “When we came to our senses, we chased him back into the forest,” he said.

Meanwhile, regarding this discovery, a spokesman for the Sarawak Forestry Corporation told The Sunday Post that based on observations, it is very likely that the strange animal belonged to the sun bear species. Characterized by a black nose, long claws, and a body shape that is almost similar. However, due to illness, the bear’s body became strange.

Further Information

IUCN Rating vulnerable

Scotson, L., Fredriksson, G., Augeri, D., Cheah, C., Ngoprasert, D. & Wai-Ming, W. 2017. Helarctos malayanus (errata version published in 2018). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T9760A123798233. Downloaded on 24 January 2021.

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Published by Palm Oil Detectives

Hi, I’m Palm Oil Detective’s Editor in Chief. Palm Oil Detectives is partly a consumer website about palm oil in products and partly an online community for writers, artists and musicians to showcase their work and express their love for endangered species. I have a strong voice for creatures great and small threatened by deforestation. With our collective power we can shift the greed of the retail industry and influence big palm oil to stop cutting down forests. Be bold! Be courageous! Join me and stand up for the animals with your art and your supermarket choices!

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