Cole, sadly, had been very ill with pneumonia and under treatment at North Carolina State Vet school for the first week of December. Seasonal changes are hard on all animals, and she may have had an underlying condition — we will know more later. She fought valiantly and had a skilled team of vets; the infection, however, was too severe. On the evening of the 8th, the veterinary team assessed that she could get her continuing care at home, as it would not affect the outcome. They sent her home to stay where she was more comfortable, and she lost her battle and passed peacefully.
It was poignant to wake up to such beautiful wintry weather that Saturday and yet also to learn we had lost our brilliant binturong girl.
Cole’s unimaginable passing leaves a huge void in our hearts. She was a resident of the Conservators Center since she was an extremely young cub, and many of us watched her grow up into the independent, strong-willed girl we knew. It is hard just to describe how beloved Cole was — her willingness to do somersaults for guests often left a profound impression on even the most disinterested visitor, and staff and volunteers adored her teddy-bear eyes and assertive attitude. She was our little superstar, and for many, a gateway into education about the world’s more obscure species.
We have lions, we have wolves, but we also had Cole Bearcat Binturong, who had a presence equally as powerful. In her five years of exuberant life — she would have been five the week of her death — she impacted thousands of people. At the Conservators Center, that is all we can ask of any person or animal: for quiet moments like those, and for a quiet (or not-so-quiet) influence on those who only wish to learn and be educated. Cole Bearcat will be missed, but her legacy drives us onward.
Chelsea Eckert (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the Conservators Center’s communications coordinator.