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Photograph Size: A2 Size (42.0 x 59.4 cm)
Material: Photo Rag Paper

The sun bear (Helarctos malayanus) is the smallest of the world’s eight bear species, about half the size of the American black bear. The common name comes from the white or yellowish crescent patch on its chest, which is (to the imaginative mind) like an image of the rising or setting sun. The interesting fact here is that each bear’s crest is individual, just like human fingerprints.

They live in the tropical lowland forests and shrublands of southeast Asia, and are extremely shy in nature. Their diet consists primarily of fruits, nuts, berries, honey and small insects like beetles, ants and termites. The sun bear’s powerful jaws help them tear into trees and thick bark to get at the insect burrowing beneath. If the food is high up on trees, they use their long, curved claws to climb up and their long, slender tongues to extract honey from beehives, a fact that has given them the nickname, honey bear. Like all bears, they have a strong sense of smell, believed to be several times better than that of humans.

They face multiple threats including habitat loss, illegal hunting and trade for use in traditional medicine. These animals, important to seed dispersal and pest control, are currently placed by the IUCN in the Vulnerable category.

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