The Whisker Chronicles

Whiskers are also known as vibrissa, from the latin vibrare "to vibrate". Vibrissa are the specialized hairs on mammals and the bristlelike feathers near the mouths of many birds. Their resonant design is symbolic of the energies, good and bad, that are reverberating throughout the natural world. Every living thing is connected and, by birthright, deserves to exist.

Sun Bear

Photo courtesy of Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center.

Photo courtesy of Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center.

Scientific Name:  Helarctos malayanus 

Helarctos is Greek for “sun” and “bear”.  Malayanus is Latin and refers to “located in Malaysia.”

Where Sun Bears Live:   

Sun bears live in mainland Southeast Asia as far west as Bangladesh and northeastern India, as far north as southern Yunnan Province in China, and south and east to Sumatra and Borneo in a patchy distribution by comparison to their historic range.  Sun bears live in dense lowland tropical forests.

Bear range

What Sun Bears Eat: 

Sun bears are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals.  Bees, termites and earthworms are the main part of their diet. They also eat fruit, birds, rodents and lizards when available.

How Long Sun Bears Live:  25- 35 years

Why Sun Bears are Awesome: 

These bears have very long tongues that are helpful for obtaining insects from trees, termites from their nests, and honey from bee hives.

My favorite behavior of sun bears is that mothers will carry cubs in their arms while walking on their hind legs.

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Why We Care about Sun Bears:   

Sun bears are one of the rarest bears.  Their wild population is steadily declining and becoming patchier due to deforestation, poaching and hunting.  Sun bears are also harmed by the fact that little conservation efforts are made on their behalf.  Sun bears are seed dispersers and very important to the ecosystem in controlling insect populations. 

Watch this video to learn more about sun bears and how you can help them through the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center.

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