Perth Zoo is celebrating the birth of the first Binturong cubs in the Zoo’s 119-year history.
Two cubs, a male and a female, were born September 6 to mother, Selasa, and father, Rabu. The parents arrived at the Zoo from Singapore Zoological Gardens, in 2016, to establish a Perth Zoo Binturong family.
Perth Zoo Keeper, Marty Boland, said, “It’s very exciting to welcome two rare Binturong cubs, less than 12 months after their parent’s arrival in Australia.”
“Binturongs are capable of delaying their pregnancy after mating until they feel the environmental conditions are favourable. So, it’s great to see that Selasa is feeling secure and content here in WA!”
“She is a first time Mum, but has been lovingly tending to her offspring in the nest box and also allowing us to photograph the cubs’ progression. She’s even trusted us to handle her cubs to quickly weigh them.”
“They tip the scales just over one kilogram, a good weight for Binturong infants,” said Marty.
The new arrivals recently opened their eyes, and they are beginning to take in the world around them. Zoo Keepers expect they will start exploring their exhibit in coming weeks and become more visible to the public.
Marty continued, “Visitors who are unsure of where to catch a glimpse of the Binturong family may smell them first. They are famous for their strong odor, which is often likened to popcorn!”
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.
Those wanting to help save Binturong from extinction are encouraged to “adopt” one of Perth Zoo’s cubs. Zoo adoption packages ensure more funds are poured into giving wildlife a chance of survival. More information can be found at: www.perthzoo.com.au