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Minnesota Zoo welcomes first binturong cub in 35 years


The Minnesota Zoo is celebrating the birth of a binturong cub – it's the first one born at the zoo in more than three decades.

The cub, whose gender isn't known yet, was born on Feb. 12 and the zoo says it's doing well – it is gaining weight and spending time with its mom inside a nestbox that's not visible to the public, the zoo announced Monday.

Binturongs, which are sometimes called "bearcats" because they look like a cross between a small bear and a large cat, are actually members of the mongoose family.

They have long, muscular tails they use to grip branches when resting or to hang from to reach their food – they're known for being "notorious banana thieves," the zoo says.

In the wild, they can be found in the trees and high forests of Burma and Indochina, the Malayan peninsula and Indonesia. They live alone or in small family groups, communicating with scent or loud screeching howls and chuckling noises, the zoo says.

But habitat destruction and the pet trade have put increasing pressure on their population – binturongs are listed as "vulnerable" under the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

This binturong is the ninth one born at the Minnesota Zoo, but is the zoo's first cub in 35 years.

The zoo says it will provide updates on social media about when the little binturong will be visible to the public. But in the meantime, it has released a few pictures of the new cub:

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