At the Virginia Zoo, staff like to celebrate as many animal holidays and birthdays as possible. While we will be celebrating Endangered Species Day on Saturday and World Migratory Bird Day on Sunday, Chef Yohn has partnered with Keepers to also celebrate World Binturong Day with Animeals.
Tasik is the Zoo’s 18-year-old binturong, which is a species whose physical appearance resembles part bear and part cat, but is not related to either animal. Also known as the bearcat, binturongs’ closest relatives are civets and fossas, which are also small to medium-sized mammals. The binturong species is the only one of its kind, and serves a very important purpose in its native habitat.
If you’ve ever smelled a binturong, you know they smell like popcorn, but that smell doesn’t come from them eating the savory snack. Binturongs are classified as carnivores but eat anything from fruits and vegetables to fish, birds and small mammals. Because they don’t fully digest fruit and veggie seeds, they poop them out and help disperse the seeds to grow new trees, making their species vital for the ecosystem.
For Chef Yohn’s World Binturong Day Animeals, he enlisted the help of Sous Chef Meredith to create a fun binturong replica made of Tasik’s daily recommended diet. Check out the recipe and see Tasik enjoying his binturong-inspired Animeals, which oddly looks like a puppet character on a children’s show!