“Durian” is an unfamiliar word in western world. However, durian is well known by both human and wildlife in Southeast Asia. The name Durian derives from the Malay word “duri” meaning “thorn” together with a suffix-an (for building a noun in Malay), is the king of fruits in this tropical region. Almost all frugivores, omnivores, and even some strict carnivores such as tigers, LOVE durian! Only a small portion of Southeast Asians dislike durian, others, like myself, really like durian!
What make Durain well recognize as the king of fruit is the creamy flesh emits a strong and distinctive odor that make durian lovers regard this pungent smell as fragrant, others find this aroma overpowering and offensive. For all wildlife including sun bears, are big time durian lovers!
The Durian is the fruit of several tree species from the genus Durio, Family Bombacaceae. In the wild, different species of durians have different colors such as deep pink, yellow, and white. Although armed with sharp and pointy thorns, ripe durians split off at the end of the fruits to ease fruit eaters consume their flesh and help disperse their seeds, which is a crucial process for the survival of the tree species.
Sun bears are important seed dispersers for durian trees in the forest. They sometime ingest the seeds while eating the flesh of durian. The seeds then pass through their gastrointestinal system and expel out when the bears defecate. Hence, the bears carry their seeds far away from the mother trees that will eventually enhance the survival of the durian seedlings.
These are some video footages of some of the rescued sun bears at BSBCC feeding on durian in our old bear house..