African civets are not common animals. Even though they do occur throughout the Okavango Delta, their solitary habits, as well as their stealthy, nocturnal nature mean they are seldom seen, and hardly ever photographed. In the last four years I have only had one sighting of a civet in daylight.
So I was quite startled to hear from a friend living nearby in Maun, that a friend of his called Rochelle, had ended up looking after some very young civets that had been rescued. Next day I went to see the civets, and find out their story. It turned out they were taken by a local child who ‘found’ them to someone living on the outskirts of town. This person had no option but to take the tiny animals, fearing that if he didn’t, the child was likely to just abandon them. These events happen from time to time, and are unfortunate, but on the plus side the baby civets weren’t injured, and this person handed them over to Rochelle to try and look after them. This had all happened the previous day.
Botswana has strict laws governing wildlife, and Rochelle managed to obtain temporary permit. Next steps are for her to take the little animals to our local vet, who has experience in dealing with anything from fox terriers to lions, for a check-up and advice. She will also be working on getting a proper permit from the wildlife authorities. That is the story of how the baby civets ended up in suburban Maun.
As for the civets themselves, well, once you take one look at them you cannot help but want to take care of them. I get to see a fair number of baby animals in my job, but these three were as appealing as any lion *or* leopard cub I have ever seen. We have guessed their age at around two weeks, and as yet, no teeth are showing. There are three in this particular litter, and the highlight of my weekend was babysitting them for an afternoon. I managed to get some images when they were walking about and playing with one another.
I will be heading for the Savuti in two days time, but will be hoping everything goes well with Rochelle and the civets, and I will post an update when I get back in two weeks time. Her aim is to firstly try and raise them, and then perhaps think of releasing them one day if it looks as if they will cope on their own.
Enjoy the pictures….I had a lot of fun taking them.
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