Destruction, degradation and overexploitation of its natural habitat by men, meat and fur trade, capture to transform them into pets… The binturong is a species threatened in many ways. Within the last thirty years, a very important reduction of its population has been recorded. Thus, and despite few works and research done on this species, the IUCN classifies it as vulnerable on its Redlist and the CITES places it is Annex III (Convention on in International Trade of the Endangered Species). Protected in Malaysia and listed as endangered on China’s Redlist, there is still a lot to do to avoid progressive extinction of binturongs.
In natural environment
What is the in-situ conservation ?
They are the means used on the field to protect endangered wild fauna and flora in their natural environment. For example, we can find:
- A wildlife sanctuary
- A wildlife preservation centre
- Reintroduction programs
The binturong conservation in his natural environment
Nowadays, the binturong (being little known by the general public) benefits from very few, if any, in-situ conservation programs.
Advantages of in-situ measures
First, conservation in natural environment preserves binturongs development in the same environment where their distinctive characteristics, diet, and predators appeared. To sum up, they are where they appeared and where they are supposed to live. According to article 8 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), in-situ “respect, preserve and maintain knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and promote their wider application with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge, innovations and practices and encourage the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of such knowledge innovations and practices.”
In order to establish efficient conservation programs, it is essential to involve local populations, lead awareness actions and give them knowledge and tools which are necessary to protect wild areas while keeping on developing itself. In-situ conservation not only contributes actively to the protection of one or several species, but also to sustainable environment in general, including in developing countries. To find out more about the the Convention on Biological Diversity :
Ex-situ conservation consists in protecting fauna and flora outside of their natural environment, in order to preserve a viable population in captivity for a potential reintroduction in nature. Best knows conservation measures in captivity are the zoological parks, especially for binturongs.
At European level, there are two levels among breeding programs: the ESB (European StudBook) and the EEP (European Endangered species Program). Since 2016, binturongs are taken care of by EEP.
The ESB (European StudBook)
It is a breeding register dealing with a threatened wild species. It is managed by a coordinator who collects all data on births, deaths and transfers done in all zoological parks which are members of the EAZA (European Association of Zoo and Aquaria). Its main role is to reconstitute the family tree of each individual, in order to mix genes and maintain a viable captive population without consanguinity risk. By analyzing all these data, the coordinator can decide to transform the program into an EEP if it is necessary for the population.
The EEP (European Endangered species Program)
EEPs were created in 1985. They are managed at European level by the EAZA and aim at encouraging, watching and giving advice on the breeding of an endangered species, while conserving its natural characteristics. The coordinator of each species has to take a census of all individuals in European zoological parks and to create a register containing the ancestries and descendants of each animal. He should proceed to genetic and demographic analysis in order to create a management plan and write recommendations for zoological parks. Its recommendations are made every year. Due to the fragility of the species, the final goal of a EEP is to reintroduce individuals in natural environment in order to reconstitute a viable population.