Thirty-five live common palm civets were seized in a crackdown in Kandal province’s Koh Thom district yesterday and have been handed over to the NGO Wildlife Alliance.
Moung Dara, chief of customs at the Chrey Thom border crossing in Koh Thom, said that the civets, which weighed a total of about 100 kilogrammes, were seized en route to Vietnam yesterday morning.
Dara said that the small cat-like carnivores were “being kept in cartage [ready] for crossing to Vietnam, and the person [carrying them] escaped”.
Wildlife Alliance is now expected to release the animals back into the wild. A letter from Wildlife Alliance CEO Suwanna Guantlett acknowledged the seizure and thanked Dara for handing over the wildlife.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List lists the common palm civet as being of “least concern”, noting that it has a wide population distribution, despite downward population trends and a “continuing decline of mature individuals”.
Civets are commonly hunted for their meat, but are also held in captivity in Vietnam to produce ca phe chon – or coffee that is passed through the civet’s digestive tract before being brewed.
According to a report from the Ministry of Agriculture, in the first nine months of the year, there were 1,166 recorded cases of wildlife crime, 873 of which were sent to court, and 293 of which resulted in fines.