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Tuesday 24 July 2012

So Long, Binturong


Binturong or bearcat (Arctictis binturong), Artis Zoo, Amsterdam: photo by Stewart Leiwakabessy, 4 October 2009

The Binturong
or bearcat
is neither bear nor cat
when cornered vicious
when happy emits
chuckling sounds

in the trees
of the rainforest canopy
for now
but here comes
the buzz saw

Binturong or bearcat (Arctictis binturong), Zoo Parc Overloon, Netherlands: photo by Truus and Zoo, 25 May 2010

Binturong or bearcat (Arctictis binturong),
Burgers' Zoo, Arnhem, Netherlands: photo by Truus and Zoo, 18 August 2009

Binturong or bearcat (Arctictis binturong), Burgers' Zoo, Arnhem, Netherlands: photo by Misha Davids, 29 July 2011

Binturong or bearcat (Arctictis binturong), baby with mother, Jardin des Plantes, Paris: photo by Pierre Ricadat, 4 March 2011

File:Young pet bear cat in Taman Negara Malaysia.jpg

A young bear cat kept as a pet by Orang Asli in Taman Negara (Malaysia): photo by Bart Van den Bosch,16 August 2004

File:Head arctictis binturong JdP.jpg

Head of a Binturong (arcticts binturong), Jardin des Plantes, Paris: photo by Jastrow, 2006

File:Binturong in Overloon.jpg

Binturong (Arctictis binturong) at Overloon, Netherlands: photo by Tassilo Rau, Summer 2004

for Susan Kay Anderson, lover of bears and cats


ACravan said...

This is lovely, as is the binturong. You fail to mention, however, that they smell like popcorn. (They really do.) When Jane was still going to little kid birthday parties, there were many held at a wonderful place in Chestnut Ridge, New York called Outragehiss Pets. The binturong was our absolute favorite. Curtis

TC said...


O heavens, I should have known there was one person out there in the animal loving universe who would remember that interesting factoid.

And as a matter of factoids, here are the pertinent lines from the Draft:

Scent of Binturong musk

reminiscent of cornbread

and hot buttered popcorn

(Those lines were lost, as it happens, due to what I guess is called technical difficulty. The post suffered severe editorial excisions as a result of the phenomenon of incipient Blogger Doom, a condition heralded by swarms of Error Messages, banners saying Achtung! Halt! -- and We Aren't Kidding! As these developments are concurrent with similar developments in the temporal lobe where there remains a gaping hole from the auto hit, it may be that editorial concerns have been rendered strictly academic anyhow. I can only say right now that the little kid birthday party to which you refer sounds to me like the greatest party of all time. Yay Binturong!)

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...


What’s that you say?
Been to wrong?

I beg to differ,
Sir, no way

This critter could have been
There—I see right written all

Over its face, so better
Just get that

Buzz saw out
Of the way.

TC said...

I'll accept any form of torture -- just don't touch my Binturong!!



Binturongs (on branches and at birthday parties) rule!


grey whiteness of fog against invisible
top of ridge, bird slanting to the left
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

atmosphere, remembered fact
there as then at hand

done earlier, carried color,
as in drawing of body

grey white of fog reflected in channel,
line of pelicans flapping toward point

TC said...


Ah, sad! for habitat encroachment threatens the poor beautiful popcorn-scented Binturong,

with its bushy prehensile tail like a fifth hand, fully as long as its body,

as in drawing of body,

Swinging along by that great tail through the trees,

leaping from branch to branch,

rotating its head backwards so that claws grip
as it climbs down a tree
head first, howling

to announce its presence

to other Binturong
there as then
now maybe, maybe

not much longer

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Huge paws press the branch
bear cat
or other mix

my mind
ready for action

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Thanks for the dedication. I am flattered beyond belief. Now, I don't know whether to look for berries or crawl up onto a branch and spy down at the people, small as ants. Anywhere I go, there is fear--especially when I find I am not in the forest any longer but exposed and observed; a dish of water and some food. But, I guess I am in it with the others (for now).

TC said...

Well, Zoos are what they are.

Somebodies always poking, laughing, saying Popcorn.

Probably maybe the best part left now is the Asleep.

(There was a vote here to eliminate the Malaysian pet Binturong on the grounds of the plastic bag, but I rounded on that view with the contention that being a pet is better than being an inmate... probably maybe. Also that's the only one of these Binturongs that has not been Europeanized. Counts for something.)

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Europe, what's that? The E.U.S. of A.?

TC said...

I think it's that place where the diplomats are trained to terrorize housemaids. (They scare Binturong, too.)

Anonymous said...

I love the attentiveness in the last one, which may well be your final look at all if you were on the receiving end of it. Gorgeous animal, and I'm now very interested to smell one. I attended the University of Cincinnati, whose mascot is a the bearcat. The campus, sadly, rarely smelled of popcorn.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Popcorn is the only thing right
about the animal wrong
for so long--
what else
cannot be right

a little too wrong, not just wrong
so off track like love
like when the teen-aged students say
Miss, you're too wrong
I know they are right
forever I am their
wrong teacher
not the right one
distracted by wrong answers
and wrong questions
right there in it
half bear half cat

TC said...


I like the way that one seems to be aware of us, yet no more than mildly curious and not visibly alarmed. Good for us, in that case. (True also of the second one, directly under the wee poem.)

In our Other World.


Too right, mate. One person's right might be another's wrong, even if both are wrong. And right. The main thing, keep them open to the possibility of enjoying being conscious. And at very least, not TOO pissed off.

But then again...

Anger is an energy. I could be wrong. I could be right.

TC said...


Binturong gets curious