project news

Pining for Civets!

News item submitted by Frontier
News item dated 15 Jan 2010

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Interesting findings this week come from the Frontier Cambodia team, where they have made an unusual friend in the Botum Sakor forest camp who is particularly fond of pineapples: the Asian Palm Civet, Paradoxurus hermaphroditus!

This peculiar cat-like mammal, related to an even more bizarre creature, the Binturong, has its Latin name derived from the fact that both sexes have scent glands underneath the tail that resemble testicles. These scent glands are used by the civet to spray a noxious secretion from these glands, mainly for marking his territory. This way, civets are able to identify animal species, sex, and whether the individual who left the scent is known or unknown. Civets are quite common around the area of Botum Sakor and their curious nature makes them an interesting sight for volunteers and locals alike.

Upon finding the camp and making himself acquainted with the team, the crafty civet decided to raid the camp’s pineapple supply! Whilst the volunteers who were particularly fond of their fruit weren’t very pleased, the civet now seems to have taken a firm place within the camp, providing a useful service to the team. Indeed, in exchange of a pineapple ration, he has been willing to act as a demonstrator for how to effectively capture, mark, and recapture local mammals! A small price to pay for a good food source! The work which is carried out using various trapping techniques is an integral part of the research being done by the Frontier Cambodia team.

Read more about our Cambodia Tropical Wildlife Conservation & Adventure Project