The reclusive sun bear, the smallest member of the bear family, is named after the golden patch of fur on their chest, which legend says represents the rising sun. Their stout stature suits their arboreal lifestyle and their long claws allow them to rip open trees and termite mounds. They also have a comically long tongue, perfect for extracting honey from beehives. Unfortunately, sun bears are heavily hunted by commercial poachers for their body parts, such as gall bladders and paws. Their homelands are being lost rapidly to deforestation, causing their populations to drastically shrink.

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Meet Micah

Photo by Vaclav Boch

In June of 2018 we received a young Sun Bear cub from Stung Treng province after he was donated to another NGO Birdlife International by a villager. Given he was only approximately 4 months old and hoping for the best chance at release we immediately transferred Micah to our Wildlife Release Station in the Cardamom Mountains. Still requiring milk formula when he arrived the staff have started introducing him to solids, taking daily walks in the forest with the Keepers where he is learnt to climb trees, build nests and forage for termites and ants to eat! He now shares the 1-hectare open-top enclosure with our adult female sun bear Sopheap, who we hope will become his surrogate mother!

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3 Ways You Can Help Sun Bears

  1. Of major concern is the widespread use of snaring throughout the Sun Bear range. Although snares are not always specifically targeting bears, the traps are indiscriminate and a high number of wild sun bears have suffered snare injuries, such as missing paws. Sponsor a ranger station to help rid the forest of snares and poaching in a critical sun bear habitat.
  2. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to help us raise awareness about the use of sun bear parts in traditional medicines, which is driving the species toward extinction.
  3. Sponsor a sun bear!  By sponsoring a sun bear at our Wildlife Release Station, you will help us return rescued bears to the Cardamom Rainforest Landscape.