Public Relations Manager
Apple Valley, MINN – February 22, 2016 – The Minnesota Zoo is thrilled to announce its first binturong cub born in 35 years.
Born February 12, the cub is doing well in a behind-the-scenes area and is not yet visible to the public. The cub, whose gender is not yet known, is gaining weight and spending time inside a nestbox with mom.
Binturongs are listed as a “vulnerable” species under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); currently there are 34 animals living at 15 zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). This is the third binturong birth in the last 12 months within AZA, and the ninth born at the Minnesota Zoo.
Residing along the Tropics Trail, binturongs have black tufts of fur, sharp curved claws, long bushy tails, and large white whiskers. They look like a cross between a small bear and a large cat. Sometimes called “bearcats,” they are really members of the mongoose family. Binturongs love fruit; they are fond of figs and are notorious banana thieves! These animals are known to hang by their long, muscular tails to reach a variety of foods, including insects, small animals, eggs, and leaves. These tree dwellers are native to the dense, high forests of Myanmar and Indochina, the Malayan peninsula, and Indonesia. When resting, they keep a firm grip on branches with their tails.
Native to tropical forests in Asia, binturongs live alone or in small family groups. In addition to scent, they also communicate with loud screeching howls and chuckling noises. Most active at night, these shy animals sleep in high branches during the day and are difficult to see. There is increasing pressure on their population due to habitat destruction and capture for the pet trade.
The Minnesota Zoo is a year-round destination located in Apple Valley, just minutes south of Mall of America. Its mission is to connect people, animals and the natural world to save wildlife. For more information, call 952.431.9500 or visit mnzoo.org. The Minnesota Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and an institutional member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).