- Title: JAPAN: New sun bear cub brightens up a Tokyo's Ueno Zoo
- Date: 27th March 2010
- Summary: UMEKICHI SNIFFING TREE TRUNK UMEKICHI ON TREE UMEKICHI PERCHED ON TREE BRANCH
- Embargoed: 11th April 2010 13:00
- Location: Japan
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Environment / Natural World,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVA6SV4BGICKN24U02NIIVDZHHJD
- Story Text: The latest addition to the Tokyo Ueno zoo, a newborn sun bear, is already a star.
The latest addition to Tokyo's Ueno Zoo is a bright light in the world of sun bears.
Umekichi (pronounced Oo-may-key-chee) was born last October and unveiled to the public this month.
The male sun bear cub belongs to the world's smallest species of bears. They are found in the wilds of in Southeast Asia and are classified as a
vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The IUCN estimates their population has dwindled 30 percent in the last 30 years due to the erosion of their natural habitat and poaching for their fur and bile, highly valued in Chinese medicine.
"In the wild, there is a worry that the sun bears will face extinction, it is a rare species so in that sense, it is a good thing," said Mizuho Noda Ueno Zoo bear breeder.
The bear cub's antics mesmerize visitors. Having learnt to climb trees using long, rounded claws he scales tree trunks. But he still hasn't figured how to get back down.
"He is so cute, especially because he can't walk very well (on the branch) yet and proceeds very slowly," said university student Ai Sato.
Fortunately for him, mother bear Momoko is always close by to make sure he doesn't get into too much trouble.
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