Malayan Sun Bear
This is a Malayan Sun Bear – the smallest bear known in the world.It stands about 5 feet tall. The sun bear’s tongue is long, likely anadaptation used to gather honey and insects from within tree cavities.Bare soles and long, curved claws help it climb trees. The sun bear’screamy chest crescent inspired its common name.
The sunbear is listed as “data deficient” on the World Conservation Union’s(IUCN’s) Red List of Threatened Animals. This designation emphasizeshow little scientists know about this bear’s natural history,distribution, and decline.
The sun bear’s exactdistribution is unknown, but it has been found in many parts ofSoutheast Asia, including northern Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam,Thailand, peninsular Malaysia, and on the islands of Borneo andSumatra. A few individuals may still linger in Bangladesh. Sun bearsare likely extinct in southern China.
It was sleeping inthis tree trunk, and apparently does sleep in trees as part of itsusual behavior. Sun bears do not hibernate. Despite all the good lightI had, I could not get a shot with the eyes open.