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The husbandry, welfare and health of captive African civets ( Vivera civetica ) in western Ethiopa

By T. Tolosa, F. Regassa

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A study was carried out during the period from September 2001 to August 2002 in Jimma zone, western Ethiopia to evaluate the husbandry and health of captive African civets (Vivera civetica). Wild civets were found in the wild in all 13 of the districts in the zone, although traditional civet-keeping was practiced in only five. Civet management practices were determined via the use of a questionnaire survey of 15 farms; containing a total of 107 civets. Health was assessed by routine clinical examination, and examination of faecal and blood smears of 55 civets selected at random. All civets were male and over one year of age, with a mean weight of 12.5+or-0.79 kg. Fifteen percent were in poor body condition, and only 13% had a good body condition score. An average of 7.13 civets were kept on each farm. Farmers obtained wild civets by either trapping them themselves, purchasing them from dealers or a combination of both. The civets were housed separately in wooden cages, with an average size of 1.0x0.5x1.0 m (length x breadth x height) and kept in a communal thatched room. They were fed boiled meat, milk (fresh or powdered), eggs, butter, corn soup and fruit juice. Although an assessment of the behavioural parameters of welfare were outwith the scope of this study, trapping methods, adaptation processes, housing condition, restraint and the techniques for musk extraction from the anal glands were stressful and injurious, and have important welfare implications. Approximately 20 g of musk was expressed from a single civet every 9-15 days. The civets often sustained injuries while being restrained during musk harvesting; 14% had swelling and bruising, 6.5% fractures and 11.2% had eye lesions. Cestodes were the most prevalent gastrointestinal parasites, followed by ancylostomes, ascarides and Tricuris spp. Skin lesions were identified in 19.6% of civets examined and an assortment of fleas and ticks including Haemophysalis leachi, Rhipicephalus and Amblyoma spp. were found on the body. Trypanosoma congolense and Babesia felis were identified in blood smears taken from four animals. This study shows there is an urgent need to invest in research into improving the welfare, husbandry and health of civets, as well as providing educational programmes for those who farm these animals.

Date 2007
Publication Title Animal Welfare
Volume 16
Issue 1
Pages 15-19
ISBN/ISSN 0962-7286
Language English
Author Address Veterinary Department, Jimma University, PO Box 745, Jimma, Ethiopia. dhwp.vet.med@ethionet.et
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. ACP Countries
  2. Africa
  3. Animal diseases
  4. Animal housing
  5. Animal husbandry
  6. Animal nutrition
  7. Animal physiology
  8. Animal rights
  9. Animal welfare
  10. Arthropods
  11. Blood
  12. Body condition
  13. Butter
  14. Cages
  15. Cattle
  16. Clinical aspects
  17. Corn
  18. Developed countries
  19. Digestibility
  20. Education
  21. Eggs
  22. Ethiopia
  23. Eyes
  24. Farms
  25. Feces
  26. Field crops
  27. Fleas
  28. Fractures
  29. Fruits
  30. Gastrointestinal system
  31. Grasses
  32. Health
  33. Husbandry
  34. Infections
  35. Insects
  36. Invertebrates
  37. Least developed countries
  38. Lesions
  39. Maize
  40. Mammals
  41. Metastigmata
  42. Methodologies
  43. Milk and dairy products
  44. Mites
  45. Parasites
  46. peer-reviewed
  47. Plants
  48. Protozoa
  49. purchasing
  50. Questionnaires
  51. restraint
  52. skin
  53. spiders
  54. Stress
  55. surveys
  56. tapeworms
  57. Techniques
  58. trapping
  59. trauma
  1. peer-reviewed