Visitors to Wellington Zoo will soon get the chance to give treats to a bear as part of a new behind-the-scenes experience.
Guests who book the new experience will get to see Sasa the sun bear up close - from behind a protective barrier.
They will be able to see and learn first-hand how staff care for Sasa.
"Sun bears are incredibly intelligent animals and visitors will get to see a medical training session with her zookeepers, which will show just how smart Sasa is," said animal care manager Jo Thomas.
"Afterwards participants will be able to give Sasa a treat or some other enrichment item and get an up-close view of her markings, her tongue and her sharp claws.
"Due to Sasa's long, sharp claws being designed for climbing trees and also the fact that she has a decent set of teeth, visitors, like our zookeepers, will have protected contact with Sasa. However, the experience of getting this close to these enigmatic animals is truly magical."
Sun bears are the smallest of the world's eight bear species, and get their name from the golden marks on their chests that look like the rising sun.
Sun bears are primarily nocturnal and arboreal, which is why visitors will often see Sasa spending much of her day snoozing in the branches in her habitat.
Born in the wild, Sasa's father, Sean, was rescued from outside a store in Cambodia by Free the Bears in 1996, and came to Wellington Zoo in 2004 as part of the regional Malayan sun bear breeding programme.
Sean successfully bred with the zoo's female, Chomel, and Sasa was born in 2006.
Sun bears are under threat both directly and indirectly from human activities, and one of the major issues they face in the wild is deforestation.
Wellington Zoo has a long-standing conservation partnership with Free the Bears, which aims to protect, preserve and enrich the lives of bears throughout South East Asia.
Money from the behind the scenes experience will go towards supporting Free the Bears and other conservation partners the zoo is connected with.
Bookings won't be available until early next year, but gift vouchers can be bought at the zoo or via the website. Ten per cent of proceeds from every behind the scenes experience goes directly to conservation projects.