Bearcat Returns To Cincinnati Zoo

(CINCINNATI) -- The Cincinnati Zoo has announced the return of the bearcat, or binturong, to Cincinnati.

At a press conference on Wednesday, the Zoo's executive director, Thayne Maynard, as well as Nancy Zimpher, president of the University of Cincinnati, and UC's mascot and cheerleaders, all welcomed the 3-month-old female baby bearcat.

"It's been more than four years since the Zoo has had a bearcat here and we are excited to see its return," said Maynard. "If there's one zoo in this country that should have a bearcat in its collection, it's the Cincinnati Zoo."

To help celebrate the return of the bearcat, the Zoo is offering half-price zoo admission for to all UC students, faculty and staff with a valid UC ID now through May 25.

The bearcat was born January 17, 2008 and will be on display for the public in the Zoo's nursery through the Zoo Babies celebration, which is May 10-25. Then, the bearcat will be moved to the Zoo's Great American Wings of Wonder Bird Show.

The only problem is, the bearcat doesn't have a name! So the zoo is sponsoring a "Name the Baby Bearcat" contest. Visit to submit a name. The contest ends April 30, with the winner being announced May 9.

The former zoo bearcat, Alice, was at the zoo from the mid 1980's to the late 1990's and was a regular attraction at UC's home football and basketball games for nearly 13 years.

A bearcat is neither a cat nor a bear, it's more like a civet. Often referred to by their proper name, a binturong, bearcats are nocturnal animals from the dense forests of Southeast Asia. They have long, coarse fur which is longer on the tail than on the body and the hairs are black and often with gray, buff tips. Their long tails allow them to move from tree to tree to find food.