Bear Cuscus

The bear cuscuses are the members of the genus Ailurops. They are marsupials of the family Phalangeridae.

The bear cuscuses are arboreal marsupials that live in the upper canopy of tropical rainforests. Almost nothing is known of their status and ecology. Although some scientists assign all populations to one species, A. ursinus, others place melanotis as its own species. The genus is distinct, though, and some authorities place it within its own subfamily, Ailuropinae.

It is found only on some of the islands of Indonesia (e.g. Sulawesi), which are culturally part of Asia, where marsupials are generally not found but which are biogeographically part of Wallacea, which from a faunal standpoint is intermediate between the Australian and Indomalayan realms. It is hypothesized that the isolation of the bear cuscuses on the island of Sulawesi in the Miocene accounts for the animal’s morphological divergence from the rest of the family Phalangeridae.

The genus contains the following species

Sulawesi bear cuscus, Ailurops ursinus – Sulawesi, Peleng Island, Muna Island, Butung Island, Togian Islands. The Sulawesi bear cuscus or Sulawesi bear phalanger (Ailurops ursinus) is a species of arboreal marsupial in the family Phalangeridae endemic to Sulawesi and nearby islands in Indonesia. It lives in tropical moist lowland forest at elevations up to 600 m and is diurnal, folivorous and often found in pairs. A. ursinus is threatened by hunting, collection for the pet trade and deforestation.

Talaud bear cuscus, Ailurops melanotis – Salebabu Island in the Talaud Islands. The Talaud bear cuscus (Ailurops melanotis) is a species of marsupial in the family Phalangeridae. It is endemic to Salibabu Island in the Talaud Islands, Indonesia. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical dry forests.