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The sun bear is the smallest and rarest of the world's eight living bear species. Sun bears are excellent climbers and spend considerable time in trees where they feed on sweet fruits, small rodents, birds, termites and other insects, and honey. Sun bear cubs are sold as exotic pets across Asia, but conservationists say Cambodia may be the only place where sun bear cubs are also given as bribes.
Visit our Zoological Garden and Wildlife Rescue Centre located Ta Moa Mountain Sun bear well-known as biggest group settle in Cambodia.
The Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre’s primary function is to save, rehabilitate and breed endangered, indigenous wildlife and it does this in some 6,000 acres of secondary scrub (also under rehabilitation), 40 kilometres south of Phnom Penh.
All animals here were rescued from private zoos, markets, hunters and trappers and so on, although with the abundant food and security found here, a large number of wild animals such as macaques and certain stork species have also moved into the area. Additionally as dubious private zoos have closed down Phnom Tamao has inherited several non-indigenous species, such as African lions. While it is described in some literature as a ‘zoo’ that’s simply because they need to encourage locals’ to come visit.
The centre was originally set up by the Cambodia Forestry Department, who donated the land, but it’s now managed in cooperation with NGOs such as Wildlife Alliance and Free the Bears. The former, in tandem with the Forestry Department, conduct regular patrols in protected areas such as Rattanakiri and the Cardamoms and there’s a constant flow of rescued and injured wildlife into the centre.
Phnom Tamao at last count housed more than 1,000 animals from more than 100 species, many of which are categorised as endangered or threatened. (The combined Asian brown and Malaysian sun bear population now stands at more than 150.) This creates a huge strain on limited resources, with funding reliant on donations, entrance fees and limited government assistance.
This is a far from perfect but a highly worthy project and one certainly deserving of your entrance fee. It’s depressing in some respects when you see the sheer number of rescued animals, but you can feel some optimism when you see that care is being taken. Indeed the re-introduction of pileated gibbons to the Angkor area has been one of several recent notable success stories. Deforestation, poaching and trafficking continue to threaten Cambodian wildlife so these animals need as much support as they can get from organisations like the Wildlife Alliance, and Cambodia’s own Forestry Administration, whose officials face enormous risks in performing their valuable work.