Two male cat-like Owston’s civets born and captive bred in the UK’s Newquay Zoo arrived in Vietnam on Lunar New Year’s Eve (February 9).
In an e-mailed statement to local media, the Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Program (CPCP) said that this is an “unexpected result” that it has obtained after almost 20 years.
The program is based in Vietnam’s Cuc Phuong National Park.
Six mature civets were sent from the park to the Newquay, Thrigby Hall and Shaldon Wildlife Trust zoos in the UK in 2004 in order to breed the animals in captivity and enhance global awareness of the need to protect them as well as other small carnivores in Vietnam.
It is their offspring that have been sent back to Vietnam now.
“The successful transportation of the Owston’s civets from the UK to Vietnam will considerably improve the gene diversity for breeding and raising this precious species at Cuc Phuong,” said Tran Quang Phuong, who heads CPCP.
It is also an important move for releasing these mammals into the wild in the future, he added.
Stewart Muir, Newquay Zoo director, told BBC News last week that "international partnerships such as this are helping to save endangered species for future generations."
Owston’s civet, also known as Chrotogale owstoni, is an imperiled species found in the forests of Vietnam, Laos and southern China.
The pointed-face carnivores with tawny buff-grey coats and black or brown stripes and spots on them, are hunted for their fur, meat, as well as scent glands, which are used in traditional medicine.
Owston’s civets often mate during a short period in spring and each female only gives birth to up to two cubs each time. CPCP is the first in the world to have civets breed successfully.
Carl Lamb, Newquay Zoo’s marketing manager, told BBC News that the Owston’s civets have disappeared in the wild for more than three years and only 17 are found in captive condition in the world.
BBC quoted the International Union for Conservation of Nature in its news report last week as saying that this species is facing extinction in the next 100 years.
Like us on Facebook and scroll down to share your comment
Thanh Nien News (The story can be found in the February 15th issue of our print edition, Vietweek)