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Because of the many sightings of sun bears in pairs, it is thought that at least some of these bears may form monogamous relationships.
They can breed at any time of the year and the cubs are born in a nest on the ground. The naked, blind cub is cared for and protected by its mother (and perhaps the father as well), and sun bear mothers often carry their cubs in their arms while walking upright – bears have plantigrade feet as do humans.
The cubs stay with their mothers for about 24 months.
Sun bears are found in Southeast Asia, from the uppermost, north-east tip of India through Bangladesh, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and part of southern China.
Habitat destruction for agriculture or logging has fragmented the forests that sun bears require. These bears are also killed for meat or for making useless medicines for the Asian market.
Very often, farmers consider that they are pests and will also kill them. Some of these animals are kept in cages in Asia to be ‘milked’ for the bile from their gall bladders.
Captive breeding programs in North America and Europe have been implemented. The sun bear also has protection under CITES, and allegedly has protection throughout most of its natural range, although there is little enforcement provided.
Various conservation groups in Asia are also trying to help provide protection for the sun bear.
Bear Trust International
Bear Trust International is an American organisation which works to protect different bear species around the world and their habitats through education, research, management and habitat conservation.
Hauser Bears is a UK based charity with a mission to change peoples attitudes towards bears. Their main work revolves around research and education to ensure a future for all bear species.