English common name: Sun Bear

Scientific name: Helarctos Malayanus

Malay common name: Beruang madu

Rank: Vulnerable

Photo Source: Free Malaysia Today

I love to eat and am definitely not picky when it comes to food. I’m an omnivore, which means I eat plants and meat, as well as other treats like honey, eggs, and bugs. When all the fruit on the trees ripens at once, I’ll eat only that fruit. I especially enjoy figs. When I snack on these fruits, their seeds pass through my digestive system whole and eventually grow out of my scat into healthy plants. This makes me an important disperser of seeds, which is very important for the health of the forest.

However, I can’t always find fruit since the trees only produce it for a limited time every few years. During these times, I mostly eat termites, beetles, ants, earthworms, and insect larvae. My long tongue can reach termites and honey deep inside nests and hives. I also eat small animals and carrion when I can find some. I mostly live in tropical rainforests that have plenty of food for me such as lowland forest, peat swamp forests, mangroves, and lower montane forests.

 

I occasionally venture into plantations or human villages because my forest home is shrinking. You can come visit me in Malaysia at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sabah (where they rehabilitate my rescued friends; check out the video) and at Taman Negara National Park, Terengganu National Park, in Peninsular Malaysia. You can also see me in Indonesia at Kayan Mentarang National Park, Gunung Leuser National Park, and Bulungan Research Forest.

 

You can learn more about the rehabilitation of Sun Bears from this video

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