Newquay Zoo’s world first

Posted: 16th May, 2019

A zoo keeper at Newquay Zoo in Cornwall is hand-rearing a rare and beautiful jungle mammal, if Dave is successful, it will be a world first – no one has ever hand reared an Owston‘s civet to adulthood.

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. It is likely that Dave’s quick actions saved her life shortly after she was born. When checking in on the mother, Nam, first thing in the morning, he found she had given birth to triplets, though sadly two were stillborn. Dave described: “They were all wet and Nam was not tending to them, so I caught them all up in my jumper, after-birth and all, and got them to the vet, but only one was alive.”

The first few days are always uncertain, and the newborn has been back to the vet a couple of times, Dave said: “She is important to the future of her species, we couldn’t risk losing her.” She travels in a small portable brooder kept at 28-30 degrees centigrade and is fed Royal Canin Babycat Milk, warmed to body temperature. At first she took 2ml at each feed every 1.5 to 2 hours. She is now happily guzzling 10ml per feed, every 4 hours.

Newquay 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 7 in Vietnam.

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