Biologist Andrew Pierce took this very rare video footage with his cell phone of a wild sun bear climbing a tree and digging for honey in the tree truck in with one of his paw and teeth and powerful jaw several meters above the ground in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand. This video is a valuable resource to show us how sun bear make a living in the wild! Thanks Andrew for sharing with us!
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The second reason for sun bear to be an arboreal mammal is that they like to rest, nap, and sleep on treetop. Obviously, they can do this equally well on forest floor, just like this —>
However, there is a problem sleeping on forest floor. If you have visited the lowland rainforest of Borneo, you probably notice the numbers of blood sucking leeches presence on the forest floor. Even though you appeared to be walking alone in the forest, you are never alone because there are always many leeches latched on you! They either feasting on your blood or trying really hard to find a vulnerable spot to enjoy a bloody meal.
This was my feet and my blood, and a fat-blood sucking leach!
So being a warm-blooded large mammal live in the rainforest that always wet and rain, the sun bear is better to stay up high off the ground when they take a break from their daily routine foraging for food or traveling on the ground. There is no better way to illustrate how sun bear have done it by showing photos taken by Chandra Dewana Boer at Wehea forest, East Kalimantan, Indonesia Borneo.
Sun bears are also known to be prey upon by reticulated pythons (huge snake that can grow up to 10 m long! seriously, I am not kidding :)) and tigers in Mainland Asia and in Sumatra. In order to escape from a surprise attack by these predators, sun bear make nest and sleep high on tree. Earlier I have posted a rare video of Batik the sun bear making a tree nest. Below is another video of her sleeping high, about 35 m above the ground on her tree nest she made and slowly climb down from the tree. If she did not wear a radio-collar, I would never have guessed and found her so high off the ground in the thick canopy of Bornean rainforest.
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Stay tune for part III...
In Malay language, “boleh” means “can”, or “capable.” “Malaysia Boleh!” or Malaysia can! in English, is nationwide campaign launched by our former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during his leadership. The “Malaysia Boleh!” spirit has since produced many achievers and achievements, (although many are rather sarcastic), but for sure, it has been a cornerstone of the success stories that made the new Malaysia today.
Since sun bear is also known as Malayan sun bear and is resident in Malaysia, I would like to create a” Malaysia Boleh! Sun Bear Pun Boleh!” (Malaysia can! Sun Bear also Can!) series to highlight about this little known bear. Today is the opportunity for me to kick start the Sun Bear Boleh! campaign with a series of photos I received from Fiona Kwok:
“Sun bear can swim!”
After years of studying and working closely with sun bears, I know that the sun bears love water but I did not know they can swim well, not until yesterday when Fiona posted a photo of a sun bear swam across a man-made fresh water lake in northern Peninsula Malaysia on my facebook. Fiona was so kind to share the rest of the photos which she took last year at Lower Belum/Temenggor State Park, when this handsome looking sun bear swam across the Temenggoh Lake, moving from one island to the other. Fiona was on a small boat when she spotted this wild bear swimming and following it, taking photos of course, until it reached the land.
This is really an eye opening lesson for me. I hope you feel the same too!
One word to describe this behavior, “Amazing!”
Malaysia can! Sun Bear also can!
Thanks Fiona for taking and sharing the photos!