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 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 a while 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.

The boys especially were eager to touch and hold Bindi, the masked civet.

The children were so curious about the civet, Bindi. They had never seen one

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 waiting for our daily walk. She loves to climb the large bird of paradise stalks. She explores everything.

Even after 8 months with us, she still gets 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 its cute fluffy yellow phase and it did, unfortunately, die of its 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 outbuildings.
Bindi loved her walk and was curious about everything.
Bindi is curious about everything, so we have to be careful with any toxic substances that it might get into for its own protection! She watched our daughter get into this toy electric car many times and was wondering why it wouldn't
run on its own!
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
The school children loved touching the masked civet
named bindi.
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 musangs 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 Philippines 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.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Musang Bindi two months old

 Bindi the rescued musang baby (masked palm civet) has taken over our hearts and is a solid member of the family now.

Rescued dog, Angel and musang Bindi on our steps.
Bindi is two months old now and I have been giving her a lot of freedom to hang out with me during the day. Not once today did I put her in her own habitat. She explored my office and our living quarters, leaped onto my shoulders and on to her sleeping ledge, then took a nap.

I brought her up to Dave's internet hut on the hill and she decided to take a nap on his desk up there. Dave will bring her down.

She's quite the member of the family and such a fun and interesting creature. She took off with a good portion of Christmas dinner and I had to chase her for it. She devoured a good portion of it and seems to have grown a lot more after having eaten so much protein.

Bindi likes playing with balls.
It's taken a while for our dogs, cats, rabbits, myna birds and hand-raised a chicken to get used to each other, but there seems an amicable truce of late. I wouldn't trust Bindi the civet in the cage at night with the birds, nor perhaps the rabbit when she matures though.

Sometimes this type of civet is called a "toddy cat" because it loves to eat the sap of the Toddy Palm. We don't have any of those, but we do have a lot of Buko juice or coconut water. It's the water that comes out of a green coconut and full of enzymes and minerals. Bindi loves this stuff and will drink, run around, drink run around. She just can't stay away from the bowl of buko juice when we put it out.

She likes to eat mangoes, bananas, sometimes papaya sometimes not. She loves turkey and hot dogs, which we found out when she jumped onto the table and grabbed them off our plates.
Rabbit, myna and 2-month-old musang, Bindi
Bindi is the cutest wild creature I have ever had to rescue. She's so playful, fluffy and cute. But at night she can be a hellion, biting harder, since her kind is naturally nocturnal predators.
Checking out her big wide world.
Checking out the flower arrangement.
It's hard to believe that people eat these adorable creatures around here. Hopefully they will get to know Bindi and she will teach them that they have a right to live too. Also their value to the environment, not to mention that they have also created the Civet Coffee market and created jobs for many farmers. They sell the beans that the civet has excreted, after having eaten the choicest, ripest coffee berries. The scat is harvested as a clean bean without the coffee berry fibers, since those are processed by the civets stomach! The beans are roasted are are the most expensive coffee beans sold in the world today selling at up to 100.00$ USD per pound.  The coffee is also known in the Philippines as Kape Alamid, in Indonesia, Kapi Luwak.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Musang teaching children

We were blessed when Bindi, our musang (masked Asian Palm civet), came by chance into our lives as a rescue at 3 days old. We had never heard of a musang before Bindi. Mainly what they know or show off in Palawan, is the Palawan bearcat, which we thought Bindi was as first. Later we learned she was a civet, smaller than a bearcat and their scat is harvest by coffee farmers and the coffee bean excreted is one of the most expensive in the world, called Civet coffee or Kopi Luwak.

We just simply love her. She's so loving and fun and interesting. It's the first wild creature I have raised. I had to give her milk every hour for the first three weeks at night, so I didn't get much sleep taking care of her. Now she eats fruits like bananas, mango, and papaya.

The elementary school teacher getting tickled by Bindi walking across her shoulders.
I found out that some villagers eat musang here, so we brought Bindi to the school where our worker's children attend to teach the children to love these creatures but not eat them.

I believe everything comes into our lives for a reason. Bindi has opened my heart in many ways and so I am using her to teach the love of her kind to others in our village who don't know better than to eat them.

The school boys were especially interest in holding and touching the palm civet.