www.borneanbearpigproject.org

Bornean Bear Pigs and Animals

Flower

The Bearded Pig

Sus barbatus, or the “Bearded Pig”, is a small-sized member of the pig family native to South East Asia. The bearded pig gets it name from the unmistakable tuft of fur on its snout which very closely resembles a beard.The bearded pig lives in rainforests and mangrove thickets across Borneo, Sumatra and the surrounding islands in Indonesia and the Eastern Philippines. They eat a diet of earthworms, fruits, roots, seedlings and other small morsels available in the rainforest, even including carrion.

The bearded pig is one of the most slender orders of the pig family, and this lightweight frame is supported by thin legs and hoofed feet. Bearded pigs vary in colour from dark brown to charcoal grey, and despite their hairy snouts they have very little hair on their hides.

The hairy whiskers that cover their snouts and give the pigs such an odd name are white or pale yellow in colour, and grow around the top of the snout and the sides of the pigs face. On the front of their snouts are two pairs of warts, although these can often be hidden from view by the pigs’ beards.

Once fully grown, the bearded pig can measure up to 165 cm (5.5 ft) in length and will stand between 70 cm and 85 cm (2.4 ft – 2.8 ft) from the ground. The average adult bearded pig will weigh around 150 kg.

The pigs live in family groups, sometimes consisting of up to 200 family members, and generally follow groups of rainforest primates, such as macaque monkeys or gibbons. The families of pigs will eat the discarded fruits picked from the higher reaches of the rainforest and left behind by the monkeys.

These families will embark on a mass migration once every year, and are the only member of the pig, or “suid”, family to do so. As many as 100 bearded pigs will travel together on the migration that will be lead by one of the more mature family members.

The bearded pig is not an endangered species, although certain subspecies such as sus barbatus ahoenobarbus (the Palawan bearded pig) and sus barbatus oi (the Western bearded pig) are classified as low-risk, near threatened subspecies.

At least bears don’t get lost

With the risk of the beloved family pet going missing the precautions that owners take are varied in method and also in expense. The most expensive to date is that of global positioning systems commonly know as GPS.  This expensive method can be used to track the whereabouts of an animal just like it would for cars and motorbikes. With this growing predominance of fitting tracking devices to anything that can go missing this modern phenomenon is expensive is but efficient.

A cheap method to help find lost cats and other lost pets is that of the nameplate attached to collar of the pet. With the simple details of the name of the pet, owner and a contact number this method has been successful for years yet of course it does rely on the public spiritedness of the general public. Nametags can be bought from cobbler’s shops and key cutting shops like Timpson’s. With ownership of mobile phones so prolific most people would not even think twice about making  a quick phone call using the details from the collar to reinstate a pet with its owner.

Animals and Bears

The range of animals that are in the world is so diverse most people will never get to see most of the animals in the world. Take for example bears.  We have all heard of giant pandas, grizzly bears and if asked to draw a picture we could probably do them justice. But what about The Florida Cave Bear or Bergman’s bear.  The variety of one species alone is so great that unless you spend your life following bears then it will just be the well-known ones that you remain familiar with.

For some studying a species can be a life’s work for example Bergman’s Bear was  a bear from the ursinae sub family and was given this name because the zoologist that identified and name this variety was called Sten Bergman. The spectacled bear you would think was named this due to face markings but in fact the Andean Bear as it is sometimes known has markings on its chest which some believe to look like spectacles.

For many children the opportunity to see a rabbit in its natural habitat is low, never mind one of our pre-mentioned bears. So how would for example inner city children have the opportunity to see animals up close and find out a little bit more about them? There are of course the zoo and wildlife parks. Some of these locations may offer opportunities to get up close with some animals. For others animal workshops in schools may provide engagement and inspiration to become the next zoologist to name a bear.

Walks with no bears

Walking through Dovedale in the 21st century, one of the most iconic and popular areas of the Peak District National Park, it is difficult to imagine that it was once regarded by visitors such as Daniel Defoe, writing after a visit early in the 18th century, as a wild and frightening place. He referred to the Peak District as a ‘howling wilderness’, but then he used the same words to describe the Lake District, so one could suggest these are the merely the metaphors of a hack journalist attempting to earn a shilling with florid descriptions for his readers in London’s taverns.

Later in the 18th century people like the Reverend William Gilpin, born in mountainous Cumbria but living in bosky Hampshire, made a series of tours around Britain and began to change the perception of the wilder, unvisited places. He gave new meaning to the word ‘picturesque’ and taught us how to evaluate scenery, how to look at it, and how to choose the places worth visiting. Gilpin was followed by people like Byron, who wrote early in the 19th century: ‘Was you ever in Dovedale? I assure you there are things in Derbyshire as noble as in Greece or Switzerland’.

Nowadays up to two million visits each year are made to Dovedale and many take Peak District walks, although the majority of visitors are concentrated at the southern end of the dale. It is still possible to explore many parts of the dale, to appreciate its fine scenic and wildlife qualities, in relative peace and tranquillity. It enjoys a high level of protection from possible economic exploitation or development, for in addition to being part of the Peak District National Park it is designated as a National Nature Reserve, a Natura 2000 site under European legislation and nearly all of it is in the ownership of the National Trust.

Bear facts

Bears are mammals of the Ursidae family. They are omnivorous animals and generally have a very characteristic stocky frame with powerful front and hind legs. There are only 8 species of bear that are currently living on the planet, but these species are very widespread and are found in a variety of different environments across the globe. Bears can be found living in the wild in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. Whilst the physical appearance of different bear species can be radically different, they all share a few common traits that give them a dog-like appearance. Bears will usually have a period of hibernation during the winter, although this is not the case for all species. Bears have been hunted for their meat and fur throughout the ages, and this combined with the destruction of much of their natural habitat has seen many bears become endangered species.

American Black Bear

The most common species of bear native to North America, the American Black bear lives in the mountains and woodland parks, although they have been known to come into contact with humans.

Brown Bear

Brown bears are distributed across much of North America, Asia and Europe. They have one of the most diverse range of sub-species and their physical and behavioural characteristics can vary greatly according to what part of the world they are living in.

Giant Panda

The Giant Panda bear lives in Southern China and has an incredibly distinctive black and white coat. They have a diet almost exclusively made up of bamboo and are one of the most endangered species on the planet.

Grizzly Bear

The Grizzly bear is one of the larger species of bear and perhaps the most feared by humans. They are omnivores that will often scavenge although they will also fish, particularly to feed on salmon.

Polar Bear

The Polar Bear is the largest land-dwelling carnivorous animal in the world and is the largest species of bear along with the Kodiak bear. They live almost exclusively in the Arctic Circle and have a distinctive all-white coat.

Predators and lifecycle of the Bearded Pig

The bearded pig is a species of pig that can be identified by a beard-like tuft of whiskers growing from the top of its snout. It is an omnivorous mammal.

The bearded pig can be found living wild in the mangroves and rainforests of the islands in South East Asia – namely Sumatra, Borneo and the Eastern Philippines. There are also a number of bearded pigs living in zoos around the world.

The bearded pig has a very small body in relation to other pig species, but an exceptionally large head. It has a long and slender snout that sports the beard of yellowish whiskers that give the species its name.

Roots, fallen fruits, insects, new shoots and seedlings make up the core of the bearded pigs diet although they will also eat carrion. Families of bearded pigs will often follow packs of monkeys around to feast on whatever is left of the monkey’s own fruit harvest.

Bearded pigs live in large family groups but the females will leave the main family to give birth. Birthing takes place in a nest that the female bearded pig makes for herself out of vegetation, and nests can be as large as 2 metres in diameter and 1 metre high. The average litter size is around 4.

Young bearded pigs (known as “piglets”,  “shoats” or “bonhams”) will stay with their mother for the first full year of their lives. They will learn how to survive in the rainforest with the rest of the family group, which can include up to 200 members. Bearded pigs have a life expectancy of 14 to 16 years.

The main predators of the bearded pig include tigers, pythons and leopards. Human will also hunt the bearded pig for meat.

The bearded pig is something referred to as the Borneo Bearded Pig, and its name in Malay is “Babi Berjanggut”. The Latin name for the bearded pig is “Sus Barbatus”.

Bearded Pig Facts

The bearded pig is one of the smaller species of pig that lives in the rainforests and mangroves of the islands around Indonesia and the Philippines. It is an omnivorous mammal that eats roots, earthworms, fruits and other forest foods including carrion (dead meat).

The bearded pig has a very long face with a slender snout. They have a large number of whiskers that grow on the snout and lend the species its name. They have one of the smallest torsos yet one of the largest heads of all pig species.

Their bodies are grey or brown in colour and are covered in a thin layer of yellow / white hairs. They have small ears and small, wart-like tusks on their snouts. They have tails that are between 20 and 30 cm long and have a two-rower tuft, similar to an elephant’s tail.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtyUOTTAtF4]

Bearded pig facts

Classification: Mammal
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Suidae
Sub-family: Suinae
Species: Sus Barbatus
Body length: 100 – 165 cm
Body height: 70 – 85 cm
Body weight: 100 – 150 kg
Lifespan: Up to 16 years

The female bearded pig will give birth to a litter of between 2 and 8 young. These piglets will live with their mother for the first year of their lives. The females give birth in a nest of twigs and ferns they build themselves and have a gestation period of 4 months. The maximum expected lifespan of a bearded pig is 16 years.

Bearded pigs live in large family groups and live together in one location for the majority of the year. They are known to follow packs of monkeys, such as gibbons or macaques, to eat the fruit that the monkeys discard and drop to the forest floor.

Humans will hunt the bearded pig for its meat, usually whilst the pig is making its annual migration. The bearded pig is the only species of pig that is known to make a long distance migration, and during this period it will depart from its usually shy behaviour. This makes it a prime target for predators, including tigers, leopards and pythons, during this time.

Despite these predators, and the relatively small spread of native environments around the world, the bearded pig is not classed as an endangered species.

Sun Bear Facts

The Sun Bear lives in Southeast Asia, from the Eastern Himalayas to parts of Southern China, and southward through parts of Burma, Vietnam and the Malayan peninsula. They live in tropical and subtropical forests.

They are the smallest member of the Ursidae (bear) family. They have a short, coarse fur that is completely black except for an occasional patch around their muzzle and a U-shaped patch on their chest. This patch is said to resemble a rising Sun and gives the bear its name. They have relatively large paws with bare soles and sickle-shaped claws, both of which are thought to aid the bear when climbing trees.

They spend much of their life foraging, eating and sleeping in trees. They are a nocturnal animal and are aided in the hunt for food by an exceptional sense of smell. Adult Sun Bears are almost completely blind and greatly depend on their sense of smell.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OKBL56CWpA]

Some Sun Bear facts

Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Ursidae
Species: Helarctos Malayanus
Shoulder height: 70 cm
Length: 120 – 150 cm
Weight: 65 kg
Gestation period: 96 days
Life expectancy: 24 years

Sun Bears are omnivorous animals with a diet consisting mainly of insects and fruits, although they are opportunistic and will eat small rodents, birds and lizards. They have also been known to cause large amounts of destruction to farmers’ crop fields, including oil palms, coconut trees, banana plantations and cacao trees.

The Sun Bear is one of the rarest species of bear today. The exact number of bears living in the wild is not known for sure but population levels are steadily decreasing due to deforestation and hunting by humans. The Sun Bear has very few natural predators, but are hunted by humans either for their fur or to bring up their cubs as domestic pets.

Female Sun Bears  give birth to one or two cubs at a time and these cubs will usually stay with their Mother for at least two years or until they reach sexual maturity. Males reach sexual maturity at 4 and the females at 3.

Sun Bear Food and Foraging

Helarctos Malayranus – the “Sun Bear” – is the smallest species of bear in the world. They grow to about 4 feet in length and have a very sleek and short black coat. They weigh around 100 pounds on average, and due to their stocky build they resemble large dogs, leading to the nickname the “Dog Bear”.

They get their Sun Bear name from a patch of hair on their chests. This patch of hair can be golden or white in colour and is shaped like a horseshoe. It is said to resemble the rising Sun. Despite this name, the Sun Bear is a nocturnal animal.

The Sun Bear lives in subtropical forests in both lowlands and highlands. They spend the majority of their lives resting or foraging in the trees in the island regions of Southeast Asia, including Borneo, Sumatra, Kampuchea as well as regions of Laos, Vietnam, Burma and South China. The Sun Bear does not hibernate because it lives in such warm conditions.

The average life expectancy of a Sun Bear is around 25 years, although bears living in captivity can live longer. Sun Bears will give birth to one or two cubs per year which will be born after a gestation period of 96 days. The cubs are suckled for about 18 months but might stay with their Mother for more than two years. Female Sun Bears reach sexual maturity at the age of three and the males at the age of four.

They search for their food in the tree tops or on the forest floor. They are omnivores whose diet consists mainly of fruits, vegetation and insects, as well as the occasional small bird or mammal. They have an unusually long and slender tongue that helps them to eat large numbers of insects, usually termites, or even extract the honey from bee nests.

Their foraging depends on their exceptional sense of smell because most Sun Bears are almost completely blind.

The secretive Sun Bear

The Sun Bear is a secretive and reclusive bear that lives in the lowland forest areas of Southeast Asia. They are also known as the Malayan Sun Bear and get their name from a bib-shaped patch of golden hair on their chests that looks like the rising Sun.

Sun bears are the smallest species of bear. They typically grow to about half the size of the American Black Bear with the male of the species growing slightly larger than the female. They can weigh up to 150 pounds. Their stature and relatively light weight suit their lifestyle, which involves moving through trees to sleep and eat.

They have a stocky build with a short muzzle and very small ears. They have a short black coat to help maintain a cooler temperature in their warm habitat, but their coat is coarse and thick enough to protect the bear from twigs and branches. The Sun Bears appearance has earned it the nickname “Dog Bear”.

Despite their name, Sun Bears are nocturnal animals. They move through the forest during the night, foraging for berries and roots or hunting small invertebrates such as birds, lizards and rodents. They are not hindered by the darkness since they are practically blind. Instead they rely on a very good sense of smell to track down their meals.

Sun Bears are very reclusive creatures, which combined with their remote habitat means that little is known about their lifestyles. The bears are often spotted in pairs however, which leads some naturalists to believe they are monogamous animals.

Female Sun Bears, known as “sows”  give birth to 1 or 2 cubs at a time in a nest they build on the ground. These cubs are born completely blind and without any coat. The cubs can move for themselves after 1 or 2 months and are weaned by four months, although they will stay with their mother for 2 years or longer.

The Sun Bear is an endangered species due to the loss of its natural habitat and being hunted by humans, either for their fur, because they are destroying crops, or to raise the bear cubs as domestic pets.

Southeast Asia Sun Bear

The Sun Bear (Latin name ‘Helarctos Malayanus’) is the smallest member of the bear family. Male Sun Bears are approximately 4 ft (1.2 m) long and weigh between 30 and 60 kg. They get their name from the crescent-shaped patch of yellow or white hair on their chests which is said to resemble the rising Sun.

Sun bears can be found in both highland and lowland areas, although they are primarily a forest dwelling species. They live in the wild in the subtropical regions of Southeast Asia, including the islands around Indonesia, South China and even India.

The Sun Bear is an omnivore that eats a varied diet. This diet includes small lizards, birds and mammals, as well as fruits and berries, eggs, roots and shoots and even coconuts. They also have a very long and slender tongue that they use to eat honey from beehives.

Sun bears do not hibernate like many other bears do. This means that they can reproduce all year round, although very little is known about their mating habits. The gestation period of a Sun Bear is around 96 days, although there have been recorded gestation periods of over twice this length.

Cubs are born completely blind and helpless, and weight between 300 and 400g on average. After a couple of months the cubs will be strong enough to forage and play near their Mother.  A female Sun Bear can product 1 or 2 cubs per year.

With a fierce reputation and a very dangerous set of teeth the Sun Bear has very few predators apart from humans, who will kill the bears for their skins or capture them to be kept as pets. They will occasionally be attacked or overpowered by tigers or large reticulated pythons, or even their larger cousins the Asiatic Black Bear.

The Sun Bear does have a useful means of defence; the very loose skin around its neck actually allows the bear to turn its body inside its skin far enough to be able to bite its attacker even when being grabbed.