The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) has received £450,000 funding for 2017 from players of People's Postcode Lottery - bringing the total amount awarded to the conservation organisation to a whopping £1 Million since 2014.
To celebrate this major milestone, keepers at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo treated the pair of sun bears, Somnang and Rotana, to a heap of wrapped boxes filled with tasty treats and adorned with a number, representing the £1 Million funding award.
The two bears were spoilt for choice with a total of eight large boxes, which keepers had drizzled with the bears' favourite treat of honey. Rotana wasted no time licking all the honey up before eagerly tearing off the paper and ripping open the boxes to get his paws on the food inside.
The funding received from players of People's Postcode Lottery has helped support RZSS's vital conservation and research projects both in Scotland and in over 20 countries around the world. This also includes RZZS's species conservation support payments to Free the Bears, helping sun bears in Southeast Asia, as well as helping to provide veterinary support to sun bears in Asia. The funding has also helped both RZSS Edinburgh Zoo and RZSS Highland Wildlife Park develop new enclosures and provide a unique and educational day out to hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
Barbara Smith, CEO of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said, "As a conservation charity we are delighted and grateful for the continued support of players of People's Postcode Lottery. Since 2014 they have contributed an incredible £1 Million to RZSS, without which our conservation work both here and in over 20 countries around the world would simply not be possible.
"We felt it was appropriate to celebrate this major milestone by treating our sun bears to some special People's Postcode Lottery-themed enrichment, not least because their funding helps us support projects including sun bear conservation in South East Asia."
Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People's Postcode Lottery, said, "As People's Postcode Lottery continues to grow, the amount that our players award to good causes continues to increase. We are very proud that our players have contributed a total of £1 Million to RZSS and that they can continue to support the development of fantastic causes."
Somnang and Rotana are Malayan sun bears, one of the rarest bear species on the planet. The two bears arrived at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo in 2010 after they were rescued from the illegal pet trade in South East Asia. The species is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and is hunted for its gall bladder and other body parts for medicinal purposes. The species is also greatly threatened due to habitat loss. Sun bears get their name from the crescent-shaped patch of fur on their chest, which resembles the rising sun.