Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Introducing the Civet Sisters

Hello everyone!

Meet two cute baby orphans that were recently brought in to us here at Animal Tracks after being rescued by the Forestry Department of Goa. IAR has long had a close working relationship with the Forestry Department and because the vets here have great success in raising small wild orphans, they knew we'd welcome the civet kittens for short term care. Then, when they are able to forage for food and fend for themselves, we will bid them a fond goodbye and they will be released back into the jungle.

The civets – aka “toddy cats” - are undeniably cute. But they need to remain as wild as possible so that their successful transition back to the wild is not jeopardised by domestication. So the staff are not handling them unless they absolutely have to. At least these two kittens have each other for company and are not lost single babies.

Civet kittens Animal Tracks GoaCivets will eat almost anything, including insects and small rodents, but have a voracious appetite for berries and soft fruit. They are agile and great tree climbers equipped with powerful claws, sharp teeth and a feline appearance. But civets are actually far closer relatives to mongoose than any species of wild cat. They love to drink the palm flower sap which is locally fermented to produce a potent alcohol called toddy, hence their more common local name as toddy cats.

When back in the wild the civet sisters will need to be vigilant and quick as civets are prey to many other wild animals including snakes and crocodiles, but the main threat to the survival of the species could eventually come from man as increasing deforestation is resulting in less natural habitat for civets and many other creatures.

This would be a sad irony as, by way of seed dispersal and propagation of new vegetation, these lovely little animals are efficient maintainers of the precious ecosystem.

So for now the sisters will remain with us as an exotic addition to the stream of temporary guests that find sanctuary here at Animal Tracks but pretty soon they'll be released to live and breed and play their roles in the natural beautiful balance of life in the Goan jungle.

That’s all from me!

Bye for now!

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