Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce that Lucy, one of our Palawan binturongs, gave birth to a male kit (common name for a baby binturong) on March 13, 2020. At birth, the kit weighted 279 grams (about 10 ounces) and is currently being raised by the Zoo's veterinarian team.
“Lucy has had kits before and has a history of not producing milk for her young,” said Dr. Margarita Woc Colburn, Nashville Zoo Associate Veterinarian. “Because of this, we are hand-raising the kit in one of our Veterinary Center Neonatal Care rooms."
With the addition of the newborn, the Zoo is now home to seven binturongs. Two of them can be seen in the Zoo's outreach programs. These ambassador animals make appearances in schools, nursing homes, children's hospitals and other locations as well as the Zoo's on-site animal shows and encounters. While no decision has been made, it is likely that the new kit will eventually go to another zoo as an animal ambassador.
Nashville Zoo is the only zoo to have breeding pair Palawan binturongs in its conservation management population. In 2015, the Zoo welcomed the first two Palawan binturongs born in the United States. To date, 19 Palawan binturongs have been born at Nashville Zoo.
The Palawan binturong (Arctictis binturong whitei) is a smaller subspecies of binturong (also known as bearcat) only reaching around 40 pounds. In the wild, this species can only be found on the island of Palawan in the Philippines. They are classified as vulnerable due to destruction of habitat and pet trade. Nashville Zoo is contributing to the protection of this species by being a part of the Palawan Binturong Species Survival Plan®, a program developed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining captive population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable.
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