The fourth World Binturong Day on May 12, 2018 was larger than the first, and a huge success. Since the instigation of this special day, the binturong (Palawan Bearcat) has become much better known.
Until now, very little research has been undertaken on the bearcat. Most of today’s available data on the bearcat has been collected from captive animals whose behavior differs from the behavior of the ones that may be observed in the wild. Thus, we do lack knowledge on bearcat behavior in the wild, especially regarding reproduction, raising the youth, interactions between individuals, food habits, moving patterns…
“Without this knowledge, we cannot develop correctly a conservation program adapted to the ecology and biology needs of the bearcat,” in a statement from ABConservation, the one spearheading the advocacy.
According to the IUCN, the binturong conservation status is vulnerable. Over the past 18 years, its population has decreased by at least 30%. It is indeed strongly hit by deforestation, and also illegal trafficking and poaching. South Asia experiences a fast development, stimulated by a strong economic growth that may be detrimental to the natural environment. Palm oil, rubber tree, and teak plantations lead to a massive deforestation, compelling species living on forest resources to get closer to men. This cohabitation is generally difficult, and most often at the animal’s expense.
One of the principal aims of ABConservation is to raise the public profile of this impressive viverrid with its prehensile tail.
“Awareness-raising is important because whilst the binturong remains little-known, it is difficult to raise funds and create more significant projects such as research or conservation programs. Raising money for wildlife species is a long process, and the binturong suffers from being an unfashionable and – some might say – less attractive animal,” ABConservation stated.
The ABConservation team has now been welcomed at SM City Puerto Princesa to host the first world photo exhibit about binturong. This year’s program included quizzes for children, professional face painters, workshops on the subject of environmental enrichment, presentations by binturong keepers, and of course, a binturong information stall.
The project was also in partnership with the City Government of Puerto Princesa, City ENRO, Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), TierPark Berlin, Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center (PWRCC), DENR- Biodiversity Management Bureau, Western Philippines University, and the Barangay Langogan council.