Spotlight India: Civet pups begin to see the world

An IFAW staff member feeds milk to a civet pup.

On April 30, our International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) rehabilitation station in Bodoland received four new animals – new-born common palm civet pups. Barely a few days old, the pups hadn’t even opened their eyes when brought in by the Forest Department.

They were reportedly found in the compound of a local household in a small town called Howly in Kokrajhar district. The owner Ranjan Das left the pups alone and watched from a distance hoping to reunite them with the mother. As the latter did not return, Das alerted the Forest Department.

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Following preliminary care by the Forest Department (and former IFAW-WTI) veterinarian Dr Prabhat Basumatary, the pups were admitted to the Transit Home. IFAW-WTI veterinarian Dr Panjit Basumatary reports that there are two males and two females.

Dr Panjit Basumatary is currently looking after the pups, along with the help of our animal keeper, Subiram Basumatary. Subiram cleans their temporary enclosures – cardboard boxes cushioned with cotton towels -- daily, and ensures that the pups get their daily doses of sunlight and fresh air. He bottle-feeds them with lukewarm milk four to five times a day.

“The pups have survived the most-challenging stage and have grown in length by about half a centimeter and in weight by about 10-60 grams (from their initial measurement of 18 cm and 100 grams during admission). We have attended to 13 common palm civets since 2005; these are the first batch of such young pups that have survived this long. They are still vulnerable, but we are hopeful that they can be reared and released in about five to six months,” said Dr Panjit.

The civet kittens begin to explore their temporary home.

The pups have now opened their eyes and have begun seeing the world. It’s sad that it’s not their real mother they first saw, but this definitely is the second best - their foster parents, who will do their best to keep them alive and return them to the wild.

--NB

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