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Coffee trade ‘kills civets’

Authorities and Wildlife Alliance staff attempt to free a civet from a snare. The organisation has called for a boycott on civet coffee, which it says drives the illegal and inhumane civet trade. Photo supplied
Authorities and Wildlife Alliance staff attempt to free a civet from a snare. The organisation has called for a boycott on civet coffee, which it says drives the illegal and inhumane civet trade. Photo supplied

Coffee trade ‘kills civets’

A wildlife protection group has called for a boycott of luxury civet coffee, maintaining that heightened demand was to blame for the gruesome deaths of hundreds of the mostly nocturnal mammals in Cambodia’s Koh Kong province last year.

In a call to arms on Facebook earlier this month, the Wildlife Alliance detailed how “atrocious” practices saw palm civets barbarically hunted in protected forests, caged and force-fed coffee berries to meet a recent spike in demand.

The highly sought-after product, also known as Kopi Luwak, involves collecting coffee cherry pips from the faeces of the palm civet to grind into coffee.

Rangers in the Koh Kong Conservation Corridor extracted more than 28,000 snares, designed to entrap civets and other wildlife, from the Cardamom Mountains last year.

An officer from the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team said hunters trapped the mammals by tempting them with fresh pineapple, but the snares often had disastrous results.

“When we are able to save them from the hunter traps, we often have to amputate them for them to survive,” the officer said.

A live civet can prove a boon for hunters, with the creature retailing at $30 per kilogram, while dead civets are sold for meat, with a big market in Vietnam.

Wildlife Alliance appealed to consumers to stop buying the controversial brew.

“It causes the blood and suffering of hundreds of innocent creatures who get their arms torn off, bleed to death and die,” the NGO’s post read.

A previous version of this article understated the number of snares seized in the Koh Kong Conservation Corridor last year. It was more than 28,000, not 936, as previously stated. The Post apologises for any confusion caused.

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