Describing a Binturong can be a challenge – they are a tree dwelling, fruit eater with a prehensile tail, long shaggy fur, and nocturnal habits. They also happen to smell like popcorn!
This might not sound like a typical member of the Carnivore family, but they are the largest civet found in Southeast Asia.
Binturongs are one of Mother Nature’s horticulturists, assisting the rainforest with tree planting. They do this by passing fruit seeds in their faeces throughout the forest – seeds and compost in one package!
Researchers studying animals in the forest rarely report seeing Binturongs, as they are extremely elusive. They spend most evenings climbing peacefully in the forest canopy, eating fruit and the occasional bird or small mammal.
Taronga’s much-loved Binturong, Emas, can be just as quiet and elusive as his wild cousins, sleeping most of the day. While Emas is most active at night, he is always ready for a feed in the afternoons around 2pm, when keepers serve up a variety of chopped fruits. Banana is his personal favourite!
Emas and his wild cousins will step into the spotlight on 14 May, as we celebrate the 2nd World Binturong Day.
This is a great day to raise awareness of these mysterious animals and the essential role they play in preserving the rainforests of Southeast Asia.
Taronga will be celebrating with a special Binturong Keeper Talk at 2pm, encouraging visitors to give thought to the rainforests and the amazing animals that depend on them.
- Carnivore Keeper, Lisa Abra