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Conservation Breeding Program

High levels of hunting, linked to the demand for fauna and flora as a commodity in the wildlife trade, is considered possibly the greatest threat to wildlife in Vietnam. Hunting and the illegal wildlife trade is the drivng force behind the current species extinction crisis faced in Vietnam.  Field studies have shown that, despite a National Park status, there is still considerable hunting pressure within the forest. The risk is much higher for terrestrial species as they are easily caught by snare traps. It is crucial to develop conservation breeding programmes for globally threated species in order to maintain populations for future release into the wild, once sufficient protection and adequate natural habitat to support a wild population is established.


Owston’s Civet Conservation Breeding Program

Due to its largely terrestrial habitats, the Owston’s civet, Chrotogale owstoni, is vulnerable to snare trapping, which is a common hunting method used throughout their range. The Owston’s civet appears to be in higher demand than other civets due to their beautiful pelt and the large scent glands that are used in traditional medicine.


The conservation breeding programme for Owston’s civet aims to establish and maintain a captive population, high genetic diversity and wild behaviours. This population will be the basis of a release programme for the species at such a time when Vietnam’s protected areas are under considerably less threat from hunting and logging than present. 


One Owston’s civet is caught by local people in Hoa Binh

The Owston’s Civet Conservation Breeding Programme is one of our biggest successes. We have successfully bred 66 Owston’s civets from 14 rescued and rehabilitated wild individuals. 

 Two juveniles with their mom in the enclosure

In April 2014 we welcomed two new members to our Owston’s family. These two young civets have grown very quickly and are successfully catching crickets and stick insects. The babies will stay with their mother until late 2014, when they will be moved into their own enclosure.

Breeding facilities


Owston’s civet Conservation Breeding Loan Program


The Owston’s civet Conservation Breeding Loan Program is a coordinated network of captive institutions managing a captive population of Owston’s civets to maintain genetic viability and support the maintenance of wild behaviours. 


The program is aimed at assisting zoos in fulfilling their conservation potential by providing a link between ex situ work with conservation work being carried out in the species natural range. The program also aims to minimise the risks associated with holding all the animals in one location. 


Three breeding pairs of Owston’s civets were sent to England in 2005, marking the beginning of an international conservation breeding program. We currently have seven Owston’s civets at Newquay Zoo (Newquay, England), one at Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens (Norfolk, England) and two at Shaldon Wildlife Trust (Devon, England) 


Two babies Owston’s civets were born in the Newquay Zoo