A Palawan binturong is currently living the American dream as one of Nashville Zoo’s ambassadors and a star of its Wild Works Animal Show.
Meet Wilbur, a 7-year-old Palawan bearcat and the first binturong born in the United States.
According to Nashville Zoo, there are currently 14 binturongs in the US Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and 11 in other facilities globally. Nashville Zoo is the only facility with a breeding pair that produced Wilbur in 2015.
Among the 5 adult binturongs in the zoo’s possession, 4 remain behind the scenes while Wilbur stars in the daily Wild Work Animal Show along the zoo’s trail.
Zookeeper Jake Belair shared that Wilbur has a sweet tooth. Among his favorites are bananas and grapes.
The Palawan bearcat or binturong (Arctictis binturong whitei) is a smaller subspecies of binturong that is endemic to Palawan.
Due to illegal trade and habitat loss, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed the Palawan binturong as vulnerable.
Aside from sharing information about the Palawan binturong, Nashville Zoo advocates for the protection of this species by being part of the Palawan Binturong Species Survival Plan and providing breeding information to the Binturong Studbook.