Newquay zookeeper puts life on hold to hand-rear an Owston’s civet

Owstons civet at Newquay Zoo

Owstons civet at Newquay Zoo - Credit: Archant

Incredibly cute, but also a world first, Newquay zookeeper Dave Rich is hand rearing an Owston’s civet - a very rare and beautiful jungle mammal

The female Owston's civet was born in early April and head keeper Dave Rich has put his life on hold since then to care for the youngster.

Dave's quick actions probably saved her life shortly after she was born. Mother Nam started to go into labour the very day that Newquay Zoo Curator John Meek returned from a key civet conference in Vietnam. When Dave checked in on Nam first thing in the morning, he found she had given birth to triplets, though sadly two were stillborn.

They got the surviving new-born warm and fed - and she's been part of Dave's life ever since. "She is important to the future of her species, we couldn't risk losing her." She goes home with him and stays with him on his day off, though 'day off' is a bit of a misnomer right now…

The Cornish charity zoo is home to more of this endangered species than any other collection in Europe, with 5, plus the new arrival. There are currently just 17 adults in zoos and sanctuaries globally - 10 in Europe and seven in Vietnam. No one really knows how many there are in the wild.


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