Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce that one of their behind-the-scenes Palawan Binturongs gave birth to two kits. New mom, Lucy, welcomed one male and one female on May 13.
“The kits are doing fantastic,” said Dr. Heather Robertson, Nashville Zoo Director of Veterinary Services. “However, Lucy was not able to produce milk for her babies, so we will be hand-raising the kits in one of our Veterinary Center Neonatal Care rooms, which includes a public viewing window."
The kits weighed between 299-312 grams each. With the addition of these cubs, the Zoo is now home to eight Binturongs. Nashville Zoo has welcomed a total of 10 kits since 2015. There are currently 14 Binturongs in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) care and 11 in facilities globally.
Four-year-old Lucy and the four-year-old father, Gru, are currently behind the scenes. For now, the new kits will stay at Nashville Zoo, with plans to eventually include them in ambassador animal programs at other zoos.
Nashville Zoo is the only zoo to have a breeding pair of Palawan Binturongs in its animal collection. In 2015, the Zoo welcomed the first two Palawan Binturongs born in the United States.
While five adult Binturongs at Nashville are currently not on exhibit, one of them, Wilbur, was hand raised by the Nashville Zoo Behavioral Husbandry team and can be seen along the Zoo's trails as part of the Zoo’s Ambassador Animal Program.
The Palawan Binturong (Arctictis binturong whitei) is a smaller subspecies of Binturong (also known as bearcat) only reaching around 40 pounds. While they aren’t considered endangered, the mammal is officially classified by the IUCN as “Vulnerable” due to destruction of habitat and the illegal pet trade.
Nashville Zoo contributes to the protection of this species by being a part of the Palawan Binturong Species Survival Plan® and providing species information to the Binturong Studbook.