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Big Isle zoo will display baby Asian bearcat


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POSTED: Monday, May 11, 2009

Keoki, one of the first Asian bearcats born in captivity since the 1980s, will make his public debut next month at the Big Island's Panaewa Rainforest Zoo near Hilo.

Terry Moniz, the zoo's education specialist, said Keoki, a male, was born Feb. 10 along with another male and a female. Moniz said the female died several weeks ago when it fell as the mother led it climbing inside the cage. The other male also died of natural causes, Moniz said, probably salmonella.

Keoki, now 4 pounds, 8 ounces, is being raised by zoo staff after being rejected by its mother.

“;He's healthy and he's gotten all his shots,”; Moniz added.

A binturong native to South Asia, Keiki is neither bear nor cat, but a tree dweller in the same family as civets and genets. The zoo hopes to include Keoki as part of its educational program that it takes to Big Island schools.

On June 19, Keoki will be the star attraction of a program showcasing plants and animals of Hawaii and the Pacific.