'Popcorn-scented' family of binturongs make public debut at ZooTampa

A family of binturongs is making its debut at ZooTampa. The trio, Sully, Melati, and baby Katrika, are moving from their behind-the-scenes living space to the Asia realm of the zoo. 

Also known as Asian bearcats, binturongs spend most of their time in trees using their padded paws and long claws to expertly grass branches and explore treetops.

Binturongs also have a distinctive scent, which is said to resemble buttered popcorn or corn chips.

"The binturongs are very impressive to see," shared Tiffany Burns with ZooTampa. "They are unlike any animal you have seen before. They are a small carnivore and probably the most unique thing about them is their smell. So when you come to Zoo Tampa to see the binturongs try to get close and take a good deep breath and you just may smell buttered popcorn."

Listed as vulnerable, binturongs are currently at risk due to habitat destruction, poaching, and the pet trade.

RELATED: Rare, endangered birds go back on display at ZooTampa

"Here at ZooTampa, we are part of many different conservation programs and binturongs or just one of them. By having a successful breeding program with both Sully and Melati that’s very important for us here at Zoo Tampa to be able to contribute any way that we can to increase the population numbers for this amazing animal," Burns explained. 

The binturong exhibit one of three new attractions Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park is unveiling. 


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