Brunei-based Borneo Futures Sdn Bhd is working with the Forestry Department, Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT), and the Institute for Biodiversity and Environmental Research (IBER), Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) to conduct a Brunei-wide survey of the Malayan Sun Bear (pic below).
The sun bear, or Helarctos malayanus, is the smallest bear in the world and grow to just 1.4 metres in length and weighing 25 to 70 kilogrammes.
These beautiful bears, with black fur and a unique orange to cream marking on their chest, populate the dense lowland forests of Southeast Asia and is a native species in Brunei Darussalam and are the forests’ natural seed disperser, pest control and house builder.
Sun bears create new tree cavities when hunting for insects, which in return creates nests for hornbills, flying squirrels and other tree-dwellers and they also help drive the forest nutrient cycle by digging for food among the leaf litter, and leaving scraps for scavengers such as pheasants and partridges.
Borneo Futures stated in a statement that this keystone species is thriving in our thick, abundant and peaceful forests but their loss can drastically alter our ecosystems hence to conserve the sun bears, there is a need to better understand them.
During the first meeting, held last year, Borneo Futures, Forestry Department, and IBER commenced the baseline study on sun bears where the study aims to establish the population distribution, gauge population trends, identify potential threats in Brunei Darussalam’s context, and, subsequently, produce a plan to protect the sun bears in Brunei and join the global effort to protect our ecosystems.