Edinburgh Zoo has confirmed that its sun bear is real, after a zoo in China denied allegations it had a human actor in a suit pretending to be a bear.
Photos of the animal in Hangzhou Zoo standing like a human on slender hind legs circulated online, with internet users questioning whether it was real.
Clarifying, the zoo said in a social media post on Monday that sun bears from Malaysia are smaller than other bears and look different – but are the real thing.
Seemingly in jest, Edinburgh Zoo wrote on its social media on Tuesday: “We can confirm that Rotana is a sun bear…”
Rotana, the zoo’s very own Malaysian sun bear, was brought to Scotland in 2010 after being rescued from a tiny cage in a private home in Cambodia.
Edinburgh also hosts 12-year-old sun bear Babu – whether or not she is real, however, is yet to be clarified by the zoo.
Sun bears are the size of large dogs, standing at most 1.3 metres (50 inches) tall on their hind legs, compared with up to 2.8 metres (9ft) tall for grizzlies and other species, according to the zoo.
Other Chinese zoos have previously been accused of trying to pass off dogs dyed to look like wolves or African cats, and donkeys painted to look like zebras.