Euthanised juvenile civet sustained burn injuries during capture attempt by NParks contractors: Witnesses

NParks said that the juvenile civet leapt out of its hiding spot before the capture started.

Gawain Pek | November 17, 2022, 03:20 PM

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates:

The burn injuries observed on the juvenile civet found in a Queenstown coffee shop on Friday (Nov. 11) were sustained during the capture attempt, Mothership learnt after speaking to operators of the coffee shop.

Following its removal by contractors, the juvenile civet was "humanely euthanised" after a health check showed that it had a "poor Body Condition Score", How Choon Beng, Director of Wildlife Management and Outreach at NParks, said on Tuesday (Nov. 15).

It had also sustained burn injuries from coming into contact with equipment at the coffee shop, according to How.

How the capture attempt went, according to witnesses

According to the coffee shop owner, Wang, there were around four NParks contractors who arrived on Friday (Nov. 11) to attempt the capture.

Wang's sisters, 49 and 42, who were staffing the coffee shop at the time shared that two contractors entered the coffee-making area of the restaurant.

"The contractors spent some time observing the situation before commencing the capture", Wang's younger sister said.

Inside the coffee-making area, the contractor's roles were split -- one went up a ladder to reach the civet while another stayed on ground level with a net.

Wang's younger sister guessed that the net was for catching the civet in the event that it leaped out of its hiding spot in the corner.

Recalling the first capture attempt, Wang shared that the civet jumped from its hiding spot just as the contractors were preparing to head up the ladder and before the net was properly set.

Prior to the capture attempt, the juvenile civet was holed up in a corner near the ceiling.

The Juvenile civet on Friday (Nov. 11) morning. Photo courtesy of Brice Li/Facebook.

The civet then ran across the top of the metal counter before landing on a charcoal-heated stove where kettles of coffee and tea were placed to keep warm.

Photo by Gawain Pek.

Based on the Wang sisters' accounts, the area of the stove where the civet landed on was warm but not scalding hot as it was away from the charcoal.

The younger Wang placed her hand on the metal grille to demonstrate this.

Photo by Gawain Pek.

Photo by Gawain Pek.

However, as the civet landed there, it knocked over some kitchenware, causing liquids to spill "all over its body", Wang's younger sister described.

Photo by Gawain Pek.

The civet then jumped to the ground before running into gaps which led it behind the metal counter.

Photo by Gawain Pek.

It then scurried across the room before hiding in a corner which was hard to get to as it was blocked, Wang's younger sister pointed out.

The civet ran across the room behind the metal counter. Photo by Gawain Pek.

Corner where the civet hid. Photo by Gawain Pek.

In a second attempt to reach the civet, the metal counter was shifted by the contractors with help from Wang.

The subsequent capture attempt was not successful either, Wang's younger sister said.

As one of the contractors reached in, the civet managed to escape.

It ran back across the room behind the metal counter and eventually out into the open.

It was only then did one of the two contractors managed to get a hold of it.

"The civet repeatedly bit the gloved hand of the contractor", the younger Wang recalled.

When asked if the contractors had switched off or put out the heating elements in the coffee-making area before attempting the rescue, the Wang sisters said no.

The contractors left with the civet after they helped shift the metal counter back into place.

The whole incident lasted around 20 minutes or less, Wang estimated.

Eatery staff saddened by civet's passing

The Wang sisters expressed surprise and sadness about the news of the civet's euthanisation.

"On Monday, we were told by a regular that the authorities were planning to release the civet. We were glad to hear that", Wang's younger sister said.

"Then, on Wednesday, I received the news and I wondered why it became so serious", she added.

Wang's older sister chimed in, sharing that the civet was adorably holed up in the corner throughout Friday morning before the rescue attempt.

"We even talked to it", the older Wang recalled.

Wang shared the sentiment, describing the juvenile civet as "docile" while noting that it "did not cause any trouble", he recounted.

Rasida, 60, told Mothership that when she heard the news, she was "very sad". Rasida runs the muslim eatery which shares the space as the coffee shop at Khong Guan Restaurant.

Khong Guan Restaurant is shared by a muslim eatery at the front and a coffee shop at the back. Photo by Gawain Pek.

The civet just "stayed there", Rasida recalled.

"The face -- baby face you know", Rasida described with affection, saying that she found the civet to be "very cute".

According to Rasida, after the juvenile civet was removed on Friday morning, an adult civet returned on Friday night looking for its young.

Wang said that an adult civet had also returned on Saturday night.

They had initially reached out to Acres for assistance, but Acres staff were busy attending to other calls for assistance and could only arrive in the afternoon, Wang explained.

Eventually, a customer phoned the town council, who then reached out to NParks for assistance.

NParks: Civet leapt out before capture started

In response to Mothership's queries, the National Parks Board (NParks) said that its contractors were trained in handling wildlife such as civets.

The contractors arrived at the coffee shop about an hour after the agency was alerted to the case.

"Before the capture process started, the civet leapt out of its hiding place and landed briefly on a heated stove. Although it jumped off the stove, it had been injured," NParks said.

The animal was found to be in poor condition when it arrived at Mandai Wildlife Group’s Wildlife Healthcare & Research Centre.

In addition to being very thin, it sustained third-degree burns on the entire base of its right paw as well as parts of its hindlimb.

NParks explained in detail how it came to the decision to euthanise the civet:

"The prognosis for full thickness burns in wildlife is poor and, in this case, worsened by the animal’s existing thin body condition. These factors would have increased the likelihood of irreparable damage impacting the animal’s eventual release and survival in the wild. After careful consideration, a decision was therefore made to euthanise the animal on welfare grounds."

Related articles

Top image via Brice Li/Facebook, Gawain Pek