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Mammalia > Carnivora > Ursidae > Helarctos

Helarctos malayanus Raffles, 1821 – Sun Bear

Taxonomic Notes:

Also known as Malayan Sun Bear. there are two subspecies currently recognized: H. m. malayanus (distributed on mainland SE Asia and Sumatra), and H. m. euryspilus (Distributed in Borneo). 

This species is listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (

Indian and global distribution:
records (based on images):
Sexual, seasonal & individual variation:
Status, Habitat and Habits:

This species is widespread in the southeast Asia. In India, it can be found in most of the NE states. It is the smallest species of bears in the world that inhabits the tropical and subtropical forests. It is strongly adapted to be an arboreal species. It climbs trees to forage as well as uses canopy as its refuge. It is often found in the tree as tall as 10 m. It is a nocturnal and omnivorous species that feed on insects, fruits, or even scavenge on animal carcasses. There are instances where its hybirds with sloth bear and asian black bear were recorded where the range of sun bear overlaps with the other two species.

Conservation Status:

This species is listed as Vulnerable in the 
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (

According to the IUCN Red List assessment, population of this species is declining rapidly all over its range. Its distribution has already been shrunk by about 25% compared with its historic range. There are no estimates of its population available. Threat to its existence come mainly from anthropogenic activities like deforestation, logging, agricultural expansion, mining and urbanization. Illegal hunting for food, traditional medicine and trapping for pet trade has also caused a significant loss to its population.


Mammalia > Carnivora > Ursidae > Helarctos

Cite this page along with its URL as:
Bayani, A. 2023. Helarctos malayanus Raffles, 1821 – Sun Bear. A. Bayani, R. Chakravarty, P. Roy, and K. Kunte (editors). Mammals of India, v. 1.13. editors.
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