Of the eight bear species in the world the Sun Bear is the smallest.....it's also known as the Honey Bear due to its fondness of honey.
The bear's proper title is the Malayan Sun Bear and it lives throughout the Southeast Asian tropical forests. Its numbers are being depleted due to its slowly disappearing habitat, being poached for body parts and being captured to be kept, or bred, as pets. They're considered desirable as pets due to their small size and relatively inoffensive nature in comparison to other bears.
Unlike other bears, the Sun Bear's coat is short and sleek and is usually jet-black or brown black in colour. However, the chest are has a horse-shoe shaped, orangey-yellow marking and sometimes the eye area and muzzle has the orangey-yellow colour too - it's these distinctive markings which give the Sun Bear its name.
The Sun Bear has poor eyesight and very much relies on its keen sense of smell to find food. Its great fondness for honey has given rise to its alternative name, the Honey Bear, and it uses its great powerful claws to break into tree trunks and fallen logs in the search for honey, grubs and termites. It's an important species for the ecosystem because it spreads seeds over large areas and also helps to bioengineer the forests during its search for honey.
Until recently there was so little information about the Sun Bear that it couldn't be classified by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature). However, it has now been classified as Vulnerable, due mainly to habitat destruction. It's vital to help maintain wild populations in protected areas.
As the public know so little about the Sun Bear, a charity called REACT (The Red Endangered Animal Connection Trust) has committed itself to raising awareness of the Sun Bear.