An endemic species of Palawan, Philippines, the tropical Palawan Bearcat (Arctictis binturong whitei) is generally unfamiliar to many. Threatened by extinction because of increasing human activities in their habitat, this mammal may become a victim of man’s carelessness. Its ecological role is not yet well understood.
Looking half-bear and half-cat but neither a bear nor a cat, this mammal can grow to as much as 1.4 meters. A distinguishing characteristic are ears lined with white fur and long, white whiskers reaching to as much the length of its head. Generally docile when reared and handled and looks docile indeed, the bear cat has sharp claws and teeth that can easily rip through flesh just like a real bear living in the temperate countries. It can suspend itself by curling its strong prehensile tail around branches. Its vertically-oriented pupil indicates that it is a nocturnal animal. It has coarse and thick black-brown fur.
Photo by P. A. Regoniel
The Palawan Bearcat (Arctictis binturong whitei) inhabits thick vegetation in the lowland forests of Palawan, Philippines. They camouflage themselves in dense vegetation at the canopy of trees preventing easy discovery. Since they are nocturnal, their bright luminous eyes give tell-tale signs of their presence in the trees when light is shone on them. Its prehensile tail allows it to cling closely among the tree branches.
The Palawan Bearcat is omnivorous as it feeds on both fruits, and small animals like rodents, and birds. They are considered pests by farmers because they prey upon poultry.
Known in Palawan, Philippines as Binturong, the Palawan Bearcat is an endemic and uncommon species.