Trégomeur ZooParc is located in the « département des Côtes d’Armor » in northern Brittany. It opened in 2007 and is dedicated mainly to Asian flora and fauna. One of the earliest resident animals is a female binturong called Madame Bintu, joined in 2011 by a male named Kroma. So, it made sense for ABConservation to go there to make binturong known by visitors and raise their awareness on its protection issues.
Thus, by a nice and sunny autumn morning, our small group – Catherine, Anne-Laure, Arnaud and Pauline – was warmly greeted on Sunday October 25th by the zoo team. After a hearty breakfast prepared for the occasion, wet put food enrichments into the binturong couple’s pen : bags clipped on a rope, a box filled with mango, banana and dragon fruit. It set them early in motion to search for food, a show much enjoyed by visitors.
Then we also set up two counters : one where children could cut out cardboard masks, practice drawing, coloring and painting, the other where visitors could chat with our team, get informative leaflets on bearcats and ABConservation and educative booklets for children, and also contribute to our funding by purchasing on our shopping corner items like binturong stuffed animal, cotton bags, key rings or badges… all featuring binturongs of course.
During all day, ABConservation team has met visitors who shared our concern and were fully receptive to our message. Yet, we were not surprised to discover that the binturong is hardly known of the general public. But, thanks to enrichments, people have seen fully active bearcats, which has perfectly emphasized our President’s narrative. By meeting people, we could get them acquainted with binturong existence and raise their awareness on the threats faced by a lot of Asian animal species, in particular the damage wrecked by palm oil farming (a recurrent topical subject during the last months).
It was important that we could explain to visitors the potential impact of our consuming habits on Asian rainforests.Because fauna and flora in Malaysia and Indonesia have been suffering during three months from forest fires, voluntary set by palm oil producers. This sad situation affects as well people suffering from respiratory troubles as animals dying from burns of suffocation or losing their natural habitat.
We were thus glad to pass on our knowledge and passion for the binturong and South East Asia.
We warmly thank all Tregomeur zoo staff for their welcome, with a special mention to Anaïs and Carole for their help.