Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Sun bears arrive at Edinburgh Zoo

Rotana and Somnang (pic courtesy of RZSS)
Image caption The brothers are being housed in a refurbished enclosure at the zoo

Two Malaysian sun bears are the latest arrivals to go on display at Edinburgh Zoo, having flown 6,000 miles from Cambodia.

The brothers, named Rotana and Somnang, are thought to be aged about seven.

The pair were rescued in 2004 by Free the Bears Fund from a private owner who kept them in a tiny cage and will stay in the city as part of a long-term breeding loan.

They get their name from the white or yellowish crescent on their chest.

The crescent is said to look like a rising or setting sun.

The pair are the only bears of their kind in Scotland and are among the rarest in the world.

They are also the smallest of the world's eight bear species, standing at just 1.2m.

Edinburgh Zoo animal collection manager, Darren McGarry, said: "Sun bears are very interesting bears and are easily recognisable not only because of their size but their amazingly long tongue used for extracting honey from tree trunks."

The brothers are being housed in a refurbished enclosure which cost £150,000 and has facilities such as an indoor pool, a waterfall, a honey drip and a fruit shaker tree.

The bears will remain the property of the Royal Government of Cambodia.

Under the terms of the breeding loan agreement the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) has committed to provide annual support to conserve wild bears in Cambodia.

Iain Valentine from the RZSS said: "Our policy at Edinburgh Zoo is to ensure that we focus our collections on species that are really struggling so that we can activity contribute to managing the captive collections that could, in the future, be the only real safeguard for wild populations."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites