Police and forest officials in the Manipur’s Ukhrul town have been scanning “gambling dens” following reports of wild animals — dead or alive — being offered as prizes for raffle draws. Apart from wild boars and deer, animals such as binturong (an arboreal mammal also known as bearcat), squirrels and flying foxes (bats) have been found to be on offer.

 

About ‘Binturong’

  • The binturong (Arctictis binturong) is a medium-sized mammal, also known as a bearcat, of the Viverridae family, which includes civets, linsangs and genets.
  • Its nine subspecies are the sole occupants of the genus Arctictis.
  • They can weigh up to 50 pounds, but most often weigh in at between 25 and 35 pounds.

 

Range

  • Binturongs live in the rainforests of Southeast Asia.
  • Its range extends from Nepal, India, and Bhutan southward to the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Java and eastward to Borneo.

 

Prehensile Tail

  • The animals spend most of their time hanging out in the treetops.
  • The animal uses its tail—which is almost as long as its body—like a fifth limb as it climbs through the forest.
  • This tail is prehensile, which means it is capable of gripping things.
  • The binturong is one of only two carnivores that has a prehensile tail. The other is the kinkajou.

 

Conservation

They are classified as a vulnerable species by IUCN.