Fact File: Common name: Sun Bear

Scientific name: Helarctos Malayanus


  • Type: Mammal
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Weight: 60-150 pounds
  • Size: 4-5 feet long
  • IUCN Red list status: Vulnerable
  • Average life span in the wild: 25 years

The Sun Bear is the smallest member of the bear family and is usually a solitary mammal, although mothers can sometimes be seen with their cubs while they are still young.

They inhabit dense lowland forests of Southeast Asia and do not hibernate as their food resources are available all throughout the year.

Sun Bears have a distinctive ‘Gold necklace’ on their front just below their neck which enables easy identification, they also have small ears, short muzzle, muscular build and a short black, coarse coat so that they do not overheat in their tropical habitat but also offers protection against rain and branches.

Although they have the name Sun Bear they are actually nocturnal and forage forests during the night looking for fruits, berries, small birds, lizards, rodents and roots to eat.

Mother bears ‘sows’ are known to give birth to up to three Cubs at a time, the gestation period varies dramatically between 3-8 months this depends on the individual and food resources available.

Cubs are born blind, helpless and weigh on average 11ounces in a nest that is made in a large cavity such as hollow tree. Cubs stay with their mothers for around two years while they learn the necessary skills to be able to survive on their own.

Conservationists are concerned that they’re population numbers are decreasing due to deforestation and illegal poaching where in most cases the mother is killed in order to take the cubs which are then sold to the highest bidders, however the cubs often die during transportation or killed for their fur and body parts.

%d bloggers like this: