Habitat loss and poaching have led to a decline of up to 30 per cent of the Malayan sun bear population in the last three decades, according to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC).
In Borneo, this smallest of the world’s eight bear species is also seeing a drop in numbers following their illegal capture for the pet trade and when they are wrongly perceived as pests and gunned down, said BSBCC founder and chief executive officer Wong Siew Te.
The Polar Bear, Brown Bear, American Black Bear, Spectacled Bear, Sloth Bear, Giant Panda and Asiatic Black Bear are other better known bear species.
Found throughout mainland Asia, Sumatra in Indonesia and Borneo, the exact number of sun bears in the wild is unknown, making it even more pressing toreduce pressure on a species that is classified as “vulnerable” on the IUCN(International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List, and at risk of becoming endangered unless circumstances threatening their survival improve.
Sun bears are also classified as a totally protected species under the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997, providing it the same status as the Orang Utan and the Sumatran Rhinoceros.
Wong said the sun bear was divided into two sub-species – the Helarctosmalayanus malayanus and the Helarctos malayanus euryspilus, with the latter, smaller bear found only in Borneo. More....