We welcome Jazz the Binturong!

He has the face of a cat, the body of a bear, a prehensile tail as long as his body and he smells like popcorn!

Say hello to Jazz, the new animal to join the Alma Park family!    Jazz is a three year old Binturong who was born at Melbourne Zoo and has now settled in to his new home at Alma.

Binturongs are also known as Asian Bearcats and yes, their coat does have the distinctive smell of popcorn!  Binturongs have a special glad on their rump that excretes a chemical that smells like popcorn.  They use this chemical for scent making territory.

range-of-binturongBinturongs are actually neither bear or cat, they belong to the same family as Mongooses, Fossa and Civets.  Binturongs were once found throughout Asia.  However, mining, deforestation and the pet trade are dwindling the wild populations of Binturongs.   In some areas of their range, Binturongs are classified as a Vulnerable species and in other areas they are classified as Endangered.

The Binturong is a solitary, noctural animal that lives high in forest canopies of South East Asia.  Despite being noctural, they are active during the day because they love to bask in the sun or take a quick dip in water to cool down.

At night, they will slowly move around the forest canopy, feeding on fruits or hunting insects and small animals.  They have also been found to be good swimmers and capable of catching fish.

Face of a cat, body of a bear!   Photo © Drew Carmichael

Face of a cat, body of a bear!
Photo © Drew Carmichael

Since Binturongs spend most of their time climbing, they have strong claws, flat feet and rotating ankles that assist them to grip trees.  They also use their prehensile tail to grip and balance as they move through the tree tops.

At Alma, Jazz has settled in beautifully and has been delighting guests with his morning sun basking antics and ritual cleaning of his coat! :)

Jazz welcomes Zoo guests with a cheeky smile!   Photo © Drew Carmichael

Jazz welcomes Zoo guests with a cheeky smile!
Photo © Drew Carmichael

Basking in the morning Sun   Photo © Teale Shapcott

Basking in the morning Sun
Photo © Teale Shapcott

 

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