Group visits to ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
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Edinburgh celebrates first binturong cubs for Scotland

Staff at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo have been celebrating the arrival of the first binturong cubs to be born in Scotland.

Native to rainforests in Southeast Asia, the binturong is incredibly difficult to breed and so keepers were especially delighted when they recently discovered three cubs in the den.

A member of the civet family, binturongs have the appearance of a small cat-like bear. They also have a distinctive, popcorn-like scent which 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. The cubs are doing well, with their mum Poppy being very attentive,” said Alison.

“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. The mostly nocturnal species has a mixed diet consisting of fruit, leaves, figs, birds, fish, eggs, rodents and plant shoots. Binturongs are skilled climbers and will leap to snatch their prey from the air, using their claws and long prehensile tail to grip as they leap from branch to branch.

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Binturong kits at Edinburgh Zoo

Main image: Adult binturong at Edinburgh Zoo (Katie Paton)

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