Is it a bear? Is it a cat? No, it's an incredible Palawan binturong. And we've recently welcomed two of these unique, rare, popcorn-smelling animals to the zoo!

The binturong is a large mammal found across South East Asia but the subspecies at the zoo can only be found on the island of Palawan, in the Philippines.

They're nocturnal animals with distinct characteristics, including cat-like facial features, fur and flat feet like a bear, and a long tail that helps them when climbing - like a monkey.

They are master climbers, with paws that can rotate backwards to enable them to climb down trees head-first and they are one of only two carnivores in the world that use their tails for climbing and gripping branches.

Another unusual feature of a binturong is their scent; binturongs have glands in their tails that release a smell that is often compared to the smell of buttered popcorn!

The Palawan binturong is listed as vulnerable to extinction due to the destruction of their rainforest habitat and exploitation for the illegal wildlife trade. Their natural habitat has been widely destroyed to create space for palm oil plantations. Binturongs are also hunted for their fur and meat, and also to be sold in the pet trade.

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Interesting facts

Where they live: The South East Asian island, Palawan.

Habitat: Tropical forests, generally found in tree canopies, but are often found at ground level.

Size: Body length 61-96cm, tail length 56-89cm

Weight: 9-20kg

Threats: habitat loss due to forest conversions e.g. palm oil plantations. Also hunted for illegal wildlife trade of food, fur, medicine and pet trade.