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Animal Facts

Sun Bear
( Helarctos or ursus, malayanus)

Sun BearDescription
Habits and Biology

Other names for the Sun Bear are:

  • Malayan Sun Bear
  • Honey Bear
  • Malay Bear
  • Dog Bear
  • Ape Man
  • Bruang (name used in North Borneo)

The Sun Bear is the smallest species of bear, and the rarest. This is because:

  • This bear is unusual
  • It is not easy to see it in the wild
  • Scientists know only a little about it because we have not studied this bear as much as the other species.

Sun Bear's faceSmall Sun BearIt was given one of its names, Dog Bear, because of its size and because some people think its face is dog-like.



Sun Bears live in tropical rain forests in Southeast Asia where it is hot and humid. The bears’ habitat is being destroyed because these forests are being cleared in many places. Sun Bears are also captured as pets, and hunted for their gallbladder. This is a part of their body that is used in Chinese medicine.

In 2007 the World Conservation Union listed the Sun Bear as a vulnerable species. This means we don’t really know how many of them are alive in the wild and they may be threatened with extinction.

Wellington Zoo, New ZealandSeveral zoos are involved in Sun Bear breeding and research programs.

Some of these are the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington DC, Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Honolulu Zoo in Hawaii and Wellington Zoo in New Zealand.


Sun Bear Description >>

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