Scotland’s first ‘bear-cat’ cubs born at Edinburgh Zoo

Binturongs are classified as vulnerable in the wild. Picture: RZSS Edinburgh Zoo
Binturongs are classified as vulnerable in the wild. Picture: RZSS Edinburgh Zoo
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Scotland’s first binturong cubs have been born at Edinburgh Zoo, sparking celebrations at the attraction.

Zoo leaders have said they are delighted since it is very difficult to breed the animals, which smell like popcorn and have the appearance of a small, cat-like bear.

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Native to rainforests in south-east Asia, binturongs are a member of the civet family. Their distinctive, popcorn scent comes from a chemical compound in their urine.

Alison MacLean, head carnivore keeper at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said: “We are very excited about the arrival of our cubs.

“These are the first binturong to be born in Scotland, so this is a real achievement.

“At first, we thought we had two little ones as our camera outside their den showed four eyes peeking out into the dark so we were very happy to discover we actually had triplets.

“The trio, born at the end of January, have recently started to emerge from their den, though only for small periods of time.

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“The cubs are doing well, with their mum Poppy being very attentive. We are gradually introducing them to visitors to build up their confidence and they will soon venture outside more regularly during the daytime.”

Binturongs are classified as vulnerable in the wild, with their population having declined by around a third over the past 18 years.

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