Also known as a bearcat, even though they aren’t bears or cats, binturongs are large civets from south-east Asia that smell like buttered popcorn.
Binturongs live in the canopy of tropical forests and will sleep high in tree branches, curling up with their heads tucked under their tails. They are one of only two carnivores (the other is the kinkajou) with a prehensile tail. The tail is almost as long as the body and acts like another limb when climbing.
They play an important role in spreading the seeds of the fruits that they eat. They are also one of the few animals animals with digestive enzymes capable of softening the tough outer covering of the seeds of strangler figs.
Considered rare throughout much of its range, the binturong is believed to be declining and is classed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. There are nine described subspecies of binturong, although the Palawan population (Arctictis binturong whitei) is often considered as a separate species.
Colour a binturong
Click on the image for a printable pdf:
World Binturong Day is organised by ABConservation – the one and only association in the world that is entirely dedicated to the study and protection of binturongs. Find out more about their website and like them on Facebook.
The Palawan forest turtle, also known as the Philippine pond turtle, is one of the rarest, most endangered, and least known turtles in the world. It is only found in five municipalities in Northern Palawan, Philippines and nowhere else in the world!
This species lives in small streams in lowland forests. The beautiful coloration of juveniles and the impressive bodies of adults are rarely seen because the species is extremely shy and nocturnal. At dusk they emerge from their dens and shelters to forage on aquatic invertebrates, plants and wild fruits that fall into the stream. The latter helps to regenerate the riverine habitat since most of the seeds germinate after passing through the digestive tract. Adults also feed on the invasive golden apple snail, an alien pest species, while juveniles take mosquito larvae. By doing so they help reduce agricultural pest species and invertebrate-borne diseases.
Though physically extremely tough, the species is susceptible to stress and has low fertility. They are not doing well in captivity and have never been successfully captive bred.
Text re-posted from the Arkive blog
Colour your own Palawan forest turtle
Click on the image for a downloadable pdf
My brand new picture book will be out in a few weeks. It’s published by Bookmark in the Philippines to raise awareness of dugongs. I’ve been working with Reynante ‘Rey’ Ramilo from Community Centred Conservation (C3); an NGO working on dugong conservation in Busuanga, Palawan in the Philippines.
Dugongs once grazed in their thousands on the seagrass meadows of the Philippines including in Manila Bay. But numbers have declined and Palawan is one of their last strongholds in the country. They still face many hazards including entanglement in fishing nets and in the ropes used to farm seaweed. Rey told me that dugongs have no safe haven at the moment and that C3 are advocating the establishment of a dugong sanctuary.
Dugongs are also known as sea cows because their diet consists mainly of seagrass. I’ve spent a lot of time planting seagrass to make collages for the book. Diwa’s story is about a dugong whose seagrass meadows are destroyed soil washes into the sea from nearby hillsides that have been cleared of trees.
Diwa must swim away from the place she knows and find somewhere new to live. On her journey she encounters many perils but also receives help from strangers who tell of a place with bountiful seagrasses… a place that would be a prefect sanctuary area for dugongs.
Rey shared with me a legend about dugongs from Busuanga. It’s a bleak and disturbing story but the description of the place inspired my thoughts of a sanctuary area for dugongs:
Once upon a time, there was a poor family that lived in a faraway place on a beach, located at the foot of the mountain, where the forest was wild with the tallest trees, crawling vines and shrubs covering the forest floor. Birds would sing the entire day, and when the day turned to night, the crickets would come out to serenade them.
Dual langauage in English and Filipino, thanks to Rey for the translation.
Coming out in a few weeks at Bookmark The Filipino Bookstore
For enquiries, email or call at 895-8061 to 65.