Thursday, May 24, 2012

Wild at Heart: The Sun Bear

Over the next few days, I will be bringing you previews of the work that will be exhibited this Saturday, May 26th at "Wild at Heart: Keep Wildlife in the Wild," the endangered species benefit that Andrew Hosner and I are co-curating at Thinkspace. 20% of the proceeds of the show will go to Born Free USA to help threatened wildlife. Hope to see you there!

Kelly Vivanco "Royal Sun Bear"

The smallest of the bears, the Sun Bear or Honey Bear inhabits the tropical rain forests of Southeast Asia, where it feasts on fruit and insects. In contrast to other bears, it has short, sleek fur that is brown-black in color, with an orange horseshoe-shaped marking on its chest. A primarily nocturnal creature, it is an excellent climber and rests on branches during the day. The sun bear has a 10-inch-long tongue that it uses to probe inside crevices for its favorite snack, honey.

Due to its fierce claws, the sun bear fears few predators other than humans. However, it is rapidly declining throughout its range as a result of deforestation for agriculture and the elimination of “nuisance bears,” which are blamed for destroying crops. Sun bears are also poached for their water-repellent fur, for their bile, which is used in Chinese medicine, and for their paws, which are considered a delicacy when roasted and are also made into bear paw soup.

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