Sun Bear

Order:  Carnivorasun bear

Family:  Ursidae

Genus:  Helarctos

Species: Helarctos malayanus

Where Found

Burma, Bangladesh, Eastern India, Southern China, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo

Other Names

Malaysian, Honey Bear, Dog Bear


The sun bear has a short, sleek, black coat, with a muzzle that ranges from a gray color to a faint orange. The crescent-shaped chest patch is white/yellowish/orange.  The paws are large, and have huge claws suitable for climbing, digging and breaking into rotten logs.  Sun bears have the longest tongues of all bear species in order to extract insects from crevices.


Adult male sun bears weigh 60 to 145 pounds (27 to 66 kg); female sun bears are somewhat smaller. The average length of the sun bear is 51-74 inches (130 to 188 cm). At birth, cubs weigh about 10 ounces (284 grams).


Little is known about the reproductive behavior of the sun bear in the wild. Cubs remain with their mothers until they are fully grown, at about 2 years of age.

Social Life

Sun bears seem to be solitary, but little is known of their social organization in the wild.


The sun bear’s diet is omnivorous, and includes termites, fruits and nuts, ants, beetle grubs, occasional scavenging, and some vegetative matter.


Sun bears inhabit evergreen tropical forests, from sea-level to lower montane areas. Sun bears are known in Southeast Asia from northern Burma, Bangladesh, Eastern India, southern China, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand, Malaysia and the islands of Sumatra and Borneo .

Wild Population

Unknown.  Sun bears are threatened due to habitat conversion, development and poaching.


The sun bear is the smallest species of bear. Up in trees, the sun bear is the most agile of all bear species.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Project Initiatives

Bear trust focuses on 4 primary project initiatives:

  1. Conservation Education
  2. Bear Research & Management
  3. Habitat Conservation
  4. Conservation Policy

Contact Info

PO Box 10850
Bozeman, MT 59719
Phone: (406) 523-7779