As soon as Courtney the keeper lets them run outside in the morning, Pepper, the female, and Sari, the young male, rush to their breakfast - but not Emas. The father of Sari disappears in the big tree and is not to be seen until he reaches the very top. His bushy tail elegantly wraps around the branches and secures him during the climb.
A Binturong’s prehensile tail can get almost as long as his body, 60-89centimentres. Sharp, curved claws and soft pads on its feet further facilitates moving along the branches. To be able to climb securely is highly important for the often called ‘bearcat’. It lives in trees in the tropical and subtropical forests of south east Asia.
The omnivorous animals eat fruit, bird eggs and small mammals. While Sari and Pepper enjoy the fresh fruit Courtney put out for them, Emas, which means ‘gold’ in Malay, grabs the sunny spot in the tree top. Even though the mammals are mainly active at night, they love to climb up the trees, lie on branches and relax in the sun. Up there Emas relaxes for a while, before he comes down to feed.
The black animal with the bright white whiskers, doesn’t only move from branch to branch for fun. In the jungle, wild Binturongs’ droppings help disperse undigested seeds, contributing to diversity in the forest.
Unfortunately the Binturongs’ survival is threatened due to the destruction of the Asian forests and hunting. Locals consider its flesh a delicacy and also use it for its medicinal properties.
The Binturongs at Taronga are great ambassadors for all Asian forest wildlife and their unqiue adaptions.
Besides their prehensile tail, Binturongs smell remarkably like burnt popcorn.
Media Intern, Ramona