Barely bearable breakup to benefit bruins
July 28, 1999
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- It was a touching goodbye when K.W. Park bid farewell to Kom Suny, a dear friend to the South Korean businessmen for the past year and a half.
But Kom Suny needed her space and longed for new friends. She will likely find them at the Phnom Penh Zoo.
Kom Suny is a 16-month old Asiatic black bear donated to the zoo in a bid to begin a breeding program for the endangered animals.
"We're very happy to get her, as we have only two male bears in the zoo, so now we can breed them," said Men Phymean, head of Cambodia's Wildlife Protection Office.
Kom Suny will undergo medical checks and three weeks of isolation before she meets her two new companions.
There are no accurate figures on how many Asiatic black bears remain in Cambodia, but wildlife experts say the animals are extremely endangered.
Although the Cambodians don't eat black bears -- as the Koreans do -- the animals are illegally hunted for their paws and other body parts used in traditional medicines.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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