By Agence France-Presse
Friday, February 22, 2013 9:15 EST
Two rare Malayan sun bears have been rescued in Cambodia after being discovered in an abandoned garment factory, a zoo official said Friday.
The male and female bears were rescued by officials from the Phnom Tamao Zoo and the Wildlife Alliance, who found them in the factory in southern Kandal province last week, according to zoo director Nhek Rattanak Pich.
“The bears were left with no food and no one to care for them after the factory owner fled the country,” the Wildlife Alliance said on its website.
The group said local authorities had called them after the bears were found in purpose-built cages at the factory, which closed without notice in December.
The bears are now being cared for at the zoo, its director said, adding that he did not know why they had been kept at the factory.
The Malayan sun bear is found primarily in Southeast Asia and is classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Bears are among many species that have been decimated by wildlife trafficking in Asia, which is fuelled in large part by China’s massive appetite for exotic meats and animal parts for traditional medicine.