Binturong Arctictis binturong

Binturong Arctictis binturong

Binturong Arctictis binturong

Bangladesh; Bhutan; Cambodia; China; India; Indonesia (Kalimantan, Jawa, Sumatera); Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Malaysia (Sarawak, Sabah, Peninsular Malaysia); Myanmar; Nepal; Philippines; Thailand; Vietnam

Presence Uncertain: Brunei Darussalam


Habitat loss has been the predominant driver of decline of the Binturong’s southern (Sundaic) portion of the range, where a significant proportion of lowland habitats have been converted to other land-uses that do not support the species e.g. oil palm plantations.

IUCN red list

#Binturongs AKA Bearcats are not actually related to cats or bears. They smell of buttered popcorn and #vulnerable due to #palmoil #deforestation throughout SE #Asia. Help them survive, #Boycott4Wildlife on brands causing #deforestation

Although the binturong is known colloquially as the ‘Bearcat’, the species isn’t related to cats or bears. They are small carnivorans belonging to the family Viverridae and they are related to palm civets.

The scent glands of the Binturong secrete a musk which some have likened to the aroma of cheesy crisps or buttered popcorn. They possess a prehensile tail and are mainly tree-dwelling, although they do often descend to the forest floor. The species is heavy and stocky and can weigh approximately 20 kilos. While more agile arboreal animal species can leap between trees, the Binturong’s heavy frame must descend to the ground to go from one tree to another.

The ecology and diet of this species is poorly known and might vary between areas. Some studies have shown them to be crepuscular and nocturnal, and targeted small carnivore surveys at a logging concession in Sarawak, Borneo (Malaysia), recorded the species only during the early morning and during the night (Mathai et al. 2010).

There are no records of this species from within blocks of monoculture plantations such as palm oil or rubber.

Habitat loss and degradation are major threats to the Binturong (Schreiber et al. 1989) as is fragmentation, particularly in those parts of the range where hunting is heavy. Throughout this species’s range, there has been loss and degradation of forests through logging and conversion of forests to non-forest land-uses (Sodhi et al. 2010; WWF 2013, 2015; Gaveau et al. 2014). Forest conversion has been extremely high in the lower-altitude parts of its Sundaic range in the last 20 years (e.g. Holmes 2000, BirdLife International 2001, Jepson et al. 2001, McMorrow and Talip 2001, Lambert and Collar 2002, Kinnaird et al. 2003, Curran et al. 2004, Fuller 2004, Eames et al. 2005, Aratrakorn et al. 2006, Gaveau et al. 2014, Margono et al. 2014, Stibig et al. 2014). Protected areas are not exempt from deforestation; 40% of the forest lost in Indonesia during 2000–2012 was lost in areas where logging is restricted (national parks and protected forests; Rode-Margano et al. 2014), and in Kalimantan specifically, 56% of protected lowland forests were cleared from 1985 to 2001 (Curran et al. 2004). Lowland deforestation is now also a growing threat to populations in mainland South-east Asia.

You can support this beautiful animal


Further Information

IUCN Rating vulnerable

Willcox, D.H.A., Chutipong, W., Gray, T.N.E., Cheyne, S., Semiadi, G., Rahman, H., Coudrat, C.N.Z., Jennings, A., Ghimirey, Y., Ross, J., Fredriksson, G. & Tilker, A. 2016. Arctictis binturong. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41690A45217088. Downloaded on 08 June 2021.

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Published by Palm Oil Detectives

Hi, I’m Palm Oil Detective’s Editor in Chief. Palm Oil Detectives is partly a consumer website about palm oil in products and partly an online community for writers, scientists, conservationists, artists and musicians to showcase their work and express their love for endangered species. I have a strong voice for creatures great and small threatened by deforestation. With our collective power we can shift the greed of the retail and industrial agriculture sectors and through strong campaigning we can stop them cutting down forests. Be bold! Be courageous! Join the #Boycott4Wildlife and stand up for the animals with your supermarket choices

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