Binturongs in Pakse, Laos.
Above Photo: A caged Binturong.
I have often seen these animals in a big cage in the centre of Pakse, southern Laos, but only recently found out what they are called: Binturongs, also known as bearcats, although they are neither a bear nor a cat.
They have sharp-looking teeth and claws, and they’re adept at climbing the trees in their cage. Other than that they just seemed to lie around and sleep all day.
An endangered species, I used to think it was a shame they were trapped in a cage, but faced with the usual Wildlife threats in Laos, perhaps they’re better off here than risking their lives in the jungle. Besides, in Laos the jungle is still disappearing at a shocking rate, with little the authorities can do when faced with massive corruption that fuels the illegal logging trade with Vietnam.
The binturongs’ alternative fate would involve them being captured and killed, then sold as dead meat in a local market, with their pelts being traded separately. So they may just be happier where they are; hard as that is to believe.
See the trailer for our new film, M.I.A. A Greater Evil. Set in the jungles of Laos and Vietnam, the film deals with the possible fate of US servicemen left behind after the US pulled out of the Vietnam War.
And for POWs left behind in Laos:
© Peter Alan Lloyd
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