Monday, July 28, 2014

See my palm civet in action

It's been about 7 months since Bindi died, holding her favorite stuffed toy. We tried to wake her up, she looked like she was just sleeping, but alas, she had died in her sleep of a heart attack. The vet said she had a defective heart. I still choke up when I think of her, I miss her so much.

While rummaging through my video archives I found a few short ones of her and I thought I'd put them together to show you how sweet she was, and how much a part of our family. It's so different to see just still photos than seeing a creature in a movie. So here is my sweet Bindi.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Goodbye my musang

It's been several months since we found Bindi in her cage holding on to her favorite toy as if in deep sleep. We tried to wake her up, but her sleep was eternal. It hit me so hard, I am only now, 7 months months later, able to even write or talk about it without tearing up.

Bindi still has some stories to tell, since she isn't here, I will tell them for her. She was an Ambassador of her kind for awhile, and taught many school children that it's not ok to kill and eat musang. We took her to the local elementary school here in Luzviminda, when she was about 2 months old. The children loved her and she went from  child to child smelling them and letting them pet her.

The kids couldn't get enough of Bindi!
Bindi was the first wild animal rescue I had here in Palawan. She became my mascot and best friend, staying with me on my desk or nearby in my home office. I loved her so much. I will always miss her. She was not the easiest creature to live with. First off, civets are nocturnal. Their teeth and claws are sharp like needles. My shoulders, hands and arms were always covered in scratches, just from her walking on me. I finally found a way to trim her nails while she was sleeping. It made her walking all over us much more comfortable. When we would want to rest at night, she was bouncing off the walls and getting into everything, so most nights, we had to put her in her large cage. There was the rare occasion when she would not do that, but it was rare, and then she would curl up under the blankets at my feet. I loved rubbing her fur with my toes, her fur was so soft.
The school teacher got as much a kick out of handling Bindi, as the children!!!
In although the masked civet is called Common Civet...if people don't become aware of them, they might not be so common some day. In Indonesia, it is legal for people to own them, and they are being hunted so much that they not be around in the wild so much. In Indonesia, there are few of them now, they are under threatened status.

Here in the Philippines, coffee growers would find their skat and then wash and sell it at Kapé Luwak, or civet coffee, now many unscrupulous growers are caging them in horrible conditions and force feeding them the coffee cherries. The whole point and value of wild civet coffee, is that wild civets only eat the most ripened berries, hence a flavorful coffee bean. That is no longer the case.

Many people in the Philippines in the provinces, catch and eat them.

Please, respect all of Palawan's wild life. In this day and age we cannot afford to lose any more animals. Each animal has it's job in the wild.

Many of the children went home and shared their experience about the musang. They have all told their parents to not harm them. Hopefully they listened.

I am able now to say, Goodbye Bindi. I will always love and cherish you and the lessons you left behind for me to pass on to others. Thank you Bindi.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Our continued adventure with the Palawan musang

Bindi the masked Asian palm civet has become such a part of my daily routine. Every morning as soon as I get my coffee, I go into the animal enclosure where she awaits pacing back and forth in her night time cage and bring her out with me. Even after 8 months with us, she still get quite nippy at night when her natural nocturnal hunting instincts kick in.

During the day I let her roam about the various outdoor living areas and outside of the animal enclosure. She never runs away, but I do keep a watchful eye on her so that she doesn't get into any mischief or eat any of the free ranging various sorts of poultry running about the property and in close proximity to her. She doesn't bother with the grown chickens but the baby chicks and ducks test her hunting instincts and she did once pounce upon a hapless duckling in it's cute fluffy yellow phase and it did unfortunately die of it's injuries.

The musang is not on the endangered list, but if killed consistently as pests or food for locals, that too will change fast enough. We are also raising a rescued baby pangolin which is highly endangered by poaching for the illegal wildlife trade.

Most of the days when I am home, which is most of the time, Bindi stays with me in my upstairs office/ apartment. More often than not, it will find the highest spot to roost and will sleep away the day until around 5 pm. At night it is put in the animal house in a larger cage therein. So that it will have some sort of life I take it out during the day an hour at a time or so and let it wander around our various out buildings.

Bindi is curious about everything, so we have to be careful with any toxic substances that it might get into for its own protection!
Most of the locals are afraid of them when grown as they do have needle sharp claws and teeth even more so. I've heard of two that were found in a house in town and summarily killed instead of being captured and released elsewhere more suitable to their wild nature. Being omnivores the wild musang will hunt free ranging exposed poultry. Another reason the locals kill them, they consider them a pest and they like to eat them as well.

Check the archive menu if you want to find out more about how we acquired Bindi the masked Asian palm civet.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Loving a musang named Bindi

2 month old musang - palm civet named Bindi
Click photo on page to enlarge.
When Bindi was given to us as a rescue at 3 days old, we actually thought she was a Palawan bearcat or binturong. When she stared getting a masked face, I researched on the web and found photos of this same creature, and it turned out to be a musang, or masked Asian palm civet.

I gave her infants formula after having read that is what was fed a baby bear cat. She has thrived on it and now at just a little over 2 months old, has added fruits and anything it can grab from our hands or plates, like hot dogs, or Christmas turkey!

We built a 20'X15" foot enclosure for Bindi
thinking she was a Palawan bearcat.
They are naturally nocturnal creatures, but now that I have given Bindi the run of my native deck where I work at during the day, she hangs out with me on a ledge behind the desk during the day. I have noticed that her evening bouts of more aggressive play are getting shorter and she sleeps a good deal of the night. Sunlight to a musang is like Kryptonite is to Superman! The sun saps the predatory behavior that happens at nightfall. Once it is dark, her little playful nips get painful.  All of us are riddled with puncture marks from her claws. She isn't being mean, just playful like a cat, but with those sharp puppy teeth and needle like claws, they really dig in. Someone wrote that this gets better as they grow older and learn to be more gentle.

Bindi gets along with the other animals. Which is
to say, they give her a wide berth
She likes a lot of attention and loves to play, much like a cat. Tussling and rolling and grabbing balls by curling around them! She is the most interesting creature I have ever raised and we couldn't love her more.  She loves children and is hanging out on the couch with several as I write this.

We did build her a large room to sleep in at night outside. Thinking it was a bearcat we made it quite large. I just felt that since she's so young we keep her with us in our living quarters. We put her in the bathroom with the toilet seat down at night since that is when she gets too feisty and her bites get harder! She usually settles down and goes to sleep on a stuffed toy we leave in there with a bowl of milk and water.

We found out that in Indonesia, it's not uncommon for people to own musangs as a pet. They put them on harnesses and take them for walks during the day. We joined a Facebook club called Musang Lovers to find out more about them from other owners so we can raise her to the best of our ability. In our village I get no advice but how to cook them. In places where coffee is grown in other parts of the Philippines, they harvest the coffee bean poop scattered by wild civets as a livelihood.

In our village, people have told us they eat
them, which horrified me. When told by one that they are good as adobo I couldn't hide my consternation. Since then, we have taken Bindi to the local elementary school so the children can interact with her and learn their ecological and economic value. It turns out on coffee plantations where musang live, they eat the choicest coffee berries and excrete the coffee bean without the pulp in their poop. This coffee bean is cleaned, roasted and sold as Civet coffee, Kape Alamid or Kopi Luwak and is the most expensive coffee in the world. The harvesting of this coffee bean poop has created countless jobs and good income for farmers in various places in the Phippines where coffee is grown. It must be quite the national income as the musang is also on the 20 Peso bill! Not once, but twice!

Musang or masked palm civet on a 20.php bill, twice! Can you find the second one on the note?

Naturally curious about everything.

A favorite toy is a simple sock.
Up on a ledge! Hey how do I get down from here. Actually, musang have no trouble going up or down most anything! Bindis' paws are even webbed. I wonder if they like to swim?

The deck which Bindi has the run of. The desk I work from is far left. Since we have left her to roam, she is quite tame and sociable and has done relatively little damage to our things. Ciet poop is generally small and whole,  not runny and easy to pick up. I'm going to try and liter train her as one chap that has one as a pet has been successful.