Westcountry-bred civets head back to Vietnam
Two brothers whose species is becoming increasingly scarce in the wild are to be moved back to their native country thanks to a pioneering partnership with Westcountry animal sanctuaries.
The male Owston's civets – one from Newquay Zoo and the other from Shaldon Wildlife Trust in South Devon – will soon be undertaking a journey to Vietnam to join a breeding programme.
Nic Dunn, director at Shaldon, said it was a delight to be helping boost the number of the animals, whose quirky stripy coat has made them a target for hunters.
"Careful management of the small population here in the UK has meant that the time has come to return two animals to their native home," he said. "This is the Holy Grail for anyone involved in conservation.
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"To be able to send an animal back to its country of origin and breed in its natural surroundings is such an exciting event and shows how small zoos can make such a big difference in global conservation."
Newquay Zoo director Stewart Muir was equally thrilled.
He said: "Owston's civets have been part of the collection at Newquay since 2004, when six individuals were brought to a small number of UK zoos to provide an insurance population as numbers of wild animals are rapidly declining. Since that day the species have gone from strength to strength in our care, and we have been extremely successful in breeding the species.
"Having been involved in the project from the very beginning, I'm very pleased that our two British boys will be going back to Vietnam."
The animals will travel to the Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Programme in Cuc Phuong National Park and it is hoped that offspring they father will be released into the wild.