On July 21, two Binturongs at Tierpark Berlin became proud parents. Vincent and Fiona welcomed four offspring when sixteen-year-old Fiona gave birth to two females and two males.
The four fluffy siblings have been tucked away with their mother since their birth, but on September 28 they received their first veterinarian exam and vaccinations. Visitors to the park can now see the curious quad exploring their outdoor exhibit.
"The special thing about this litter is that almost all the young animals look the same", explained park curator, Christian Kern. "Only one has a slightly lighter head. Usually, [Binturongs] siblings are quite different in the facial and skin coloring."
The Binturong (Arctictis binturong), also known as a Bearcat, is a viverrid that is native to South and Southeast Asia.
Binturongs are omnivorous, feeding on small mammals, birds, fish, earthworms, insects and fruits.
The estrous period of the Binturong is 81 days, with a gestation of 91 days. The average age of sexual maturation is 30.4 months for females and 27.7 months for males. The binturong is one of approximately 100 species of mammal believed by many experts to be capable of embryonic diapause, or delayed implantation, which allows the female of the species to time parturition to coincide with favorable environmental conditions. Typical litters consist of two offspring, but up to six may occur.
It is uncommon in much of its range, and has been assessed and classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List due to a declining population trend that is estimated at more than 30% over the last three decades. The main threat to the species is severe destruction of habitats in their native parts of the world.
The EAZA has established a conservation breeding program for Binturongs, including Tierpark Berlin’s animals. Tierpark Berlin supports the organization ABConservation, which specializes in the protection of the Binturongs, at its Bearcat Study Program on Palawan Island in the Philippines.
"Binturongs are kept in a comparatively large number of European zoos, but their breeding does not work regularly. The pairs must harmonize well in order to reproduce. It is therefore all the more pleasing that our Berlin couple have regularly been up-and-coming since 2003," said Zoo and Tierpark Director Dr. Andreas Knieriem.
Currently, the Binturong at Tierpark Berlin are the only ones in Germany. The four siblings are also currently yet-to-be-named.