What if I told you the smallest species of bear almost looks like a Care Bear from the 1980s cartoon? However, unlike Care Bears, whose chest symbols represented their personality and strengths, the sun bear’s beautiful markings have become symbols of endangerment and extinction. This tiny species of bear is found in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia, where unfortunately, due to a number of stresses and human activity, the species is in trouble and needs the help of global awareness to prevent their extinction.

Because of the elusiveness of these bears in the wild, it is hard to get proper documentation of their population. However, the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species lists their population as declining and vulnerable because of increased deforestation and poaching. As a result, the bears only have the Southeast Asian Borneo rainforest as a home.

To help save this species, a new campaign is currently underway by the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) called the Survival of the Sun Bears, which aims to raise awareness about sun bears and their threats by showing how crucial the species is to the Borneo rainforest through various forms of storytelling media.

The campaign teaches us that sun bears are a keystone species, which means their lifestyles and presence creates habitats for other animals, and that they are also an indicator species as they provide a good gauge of how healthy an overall ecosystem is.

To help these bears and the crucial ecosystem they inhabit, you can:

  • Keep up-to-date on what’s happening with the bears and the campaign via Facebook.
  • Raise awareness about the species by spreading the word about “Survival of the Sun Bears.
  • Share the campaign’s video on social media pages and with your friends and family.
  • Support the campaign financially.
  • And lastly, make conscious decisions about what you consumer, by, for example, steering clear of unsustainable palm oil, which directly contributes to deforestation and habitat loss for species like the sun bear.

All animals deserve a chance to exist without the crushing weight of unnecessary human intervention, but if you were to base animal support on pure cuteness alone, sun bears would have to be near the top of the list. They’re the real-life Care Bears, after all, and they need our help!

 Image Source: Colin Bowern/Flickr