In Singapore, the urban common palm civets (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) face a diversity of threats, one of which is occasional trapping by residents. So what happens when a civet is trapped? Most of the time, they will be lucky enough to either be released into a forest or if deemed unsuitable for release, they will be kept at the common palm civet exhibit in Night Safari, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.
However, this was not the case for this poor civet that was trapped at Swiss Club Road. The STOMP article (30 Mar 2012) “Bungalow owner wants to barbeque civet cat for dinner after it destroyed his phone wires” reminded us that even if it is only a minority group of people who wish to permanently get rid of civets, such cruelty to these wildlife still exist.
Thanks to Ivan Kwan (@VaranusSalvator) who immediately wrote up a comprehensive blog post to highlight the plight of this unfortunate civet. He also took this chance to explain why it is actually illegal to kill, take or keep wildlife in Singapore and corrected misinformation about urban civets.
Civets are omnivorous animals, feeding on a variety of animals (eg. squirrels and rats) and fruits (eg. papaya, mango & etc). Usually in private estates, many people grow fruit trees in their backyards and thus, the urban civets might perceive all these yummy home-grown fruits as an accessible food source. If you do not wish to have civets coming to your ripe fruits, you can try covering up the fruits in bags to deter them from reaching the fruits.
However, we WILL NOT condone culling of civets. Hence, if you do observe such future incidents, please leave a comment with specific details for us or report it directly to Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES) who has a 24-hour hotline ( +65 9783 7782) for wildlife crime and rescue work to help rescue these animals.
Lastly, for us to trace the origins of this human-animal conflict issue, it is actually us humans who first encroached into the wilderness where civets once roam freely. Fortunately, the civets have adapted to urbanisation, so instead of persecuting their presence, we should celebrate their existence as Singapore’s last wild urban carnivore. May everyone enjoy living harmoniously with the wild civets!