Civets are small, lithe-bodied, mostly arboreal mammals native to the tropics of Africa and Asia. The Owston's Palm Civet is a civet that lives in the forests and wooded lowland river basins of northern Vietnam, northern Laos, and southern China. These beautiful cubs are part of a conservation breeding programme at Newquay Zoo in Cornwall which also directly supports an overseas conservation project in the civets native home of Vietnam.
Director of Newquay Zoo, Stewart Muir said “We are delighted that the breeding programme for this endangered species is doing well. It was only four years ago that the first six Owston’s Civets were allowed out of Vietnam to three UK zoo’s to start a breeding programme. We have already had 5 cubs here at Newquay, three of which have moved to other UK zoos.”
“The project in Vietnam is called the Small Carnivore Conservation Project based at Cuc Phuong National park and helps protect a variety of leopard cat, binturong (cat bear) and pangolins.
“We support the project not just financially but I personally visit to share our research, learn from each other, help in overseeing the running of the centre in Vietnam and with skills support. This helps train rangers within the park and at the breeding centre, plus gives support to local education projects. We also run a brilliant can collecting scheme at the zoo where people, companies and schools can collect their aluminium cans for us. We then receive money from Henry Orchard & Sons for every can which is then recycled.”
The two cubs have been named Dong Hoi and Dong Ha after two of the islands in Vietnam. They are nocturnal but can often be seen through a special viewing window, cuddled up with mum and dad.
Owston's Civets are at risk from the illegal wildlife trade and trapping for their fur and meat.