Hand raised by Zoo staff, Bandar the binturong was an ambassador for his species—one that most people had never heard of, let alone seen.
  • 1990s
  • 2000s

Looking like a cross between a monkey, bear, and cat, a binturong is actually related to civets. With an outgoing personality and sociable demeanor, Bandar traveled with his trainers throughout the country on Zoo publicity trips and was a wildly popular part of school programs.

Bandar also delighted Zoo visitors as he strolled the Zoo grounds with his keeper. His daily walks included staff offices as well, and his visits were always a highlight of the workday, even if things were a little less organized than when he arrived. With his characteristic curiosity, he explored (and cleared) bookshelves and cabinets. He adored desk chairs, which he used as his own personal jungle gyms.

Although he had a reputation for being cool, calm, and collected, Bandar also had his druthers—and made them known. When he visited the empty Zoo classroom, he would always make a beeline for a stack of carpet squares and curl up on them. Seeing how much he liked the textured surface, his trainers took one back to his enclosure; he ignored it. Apparently, the stack in the classroom had a special quality that just couldn’t be duplicated, and Bandar wouldn’t settle for anything but the best.

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