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Lions, Tigers, and… Civets? Oh my! Taylor Bass Shares her Intern Experience with The Civet Project

Taylor Bass stands overlooking the ocean
Taylor Bass, completed her internship with Fanimal and The Civet Project in 2023

Working with exotic carnivores has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. Tigers, ocelots, lions you name it, I wanted to know more about it. My research and interest in exotic carnivores date back to my elementary school days when I did a research project on the ocelot populations and history and continued into my high school years when I would visit the exotic cat sanctuary in my state.

It wasn’t just my love of carnivores that drew me to this internship. I was also a barista throughout my undergraduate studies, and my knowledge of coffee quite literally helped fund my education and life during this time.

When I discovered that civet coffee was made using the faeces of these highly exploited animals, I realized that this internship would allow me to combine my passions and interests in a way I never could have imagined.

The internship through Fanimal with Professor Carol Kline, which I found through my university job board, is what connected me to The Civet Project, Jes Hooper, and Jack Wootton. It couldn’t have been a better placement for me, and it has been an opportunity that extended beyond just receiving university credits.

Throughout this internship, I learned new topics that were not common teachings within my undergraduate program. I got to learn more about a whole other sector of animal welfare… animals in tourism. This is something that you hear about, but it was not something that I had been educationally exposed to before throughout my program requirements.

A brochure featuring the sponsorship information for the upcoming documentary into civet coffee
The Civet Project Documentary Sponsorship Packet

Throughout my internship, I had the opportunity to assist The Civet Project in putting together a documentary to raise awareness of civet welfare which is threatened by the production of civet coffee. I was able to help with research tasks ranging from travel visas and permits, to mapping out civet coffee farms in relation to the Annamite mountains in Vietnam, the last remaining stronghold of the Owston's civet (Chrotogale owstoni). Another large task that I was given, was helping to put together a sponsorship package that is being distributed to those who are interested in

helping fund this cause and contribute to civet welfare. I worked closely with Jes to design and plan a new social media strategy so that we could grow our audience and promote the needs of civets, and I helped write grant applications and put together all the material's needed for university ethics clearance. I also attended project and research meetings where I could bring my own ideas and network with other conservationists and researchers.

Not only did this internship open my eyes to the issues that animals in tourism face, but it also opened my eyes to an entire species that deserves the awareness we give to the better-known carnivores as well as all of the work that goes on behind the scenes of a non-profit conservation organization. I could not have asked for a better internship experience than the one provided by Fanimal and The Civet project, as it allowed me to broaden my knowledge while working remotely and having flexible working hours alongside completing my degree.

As a recent graduate from Oregon State University with a B.S. in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences, this internship has been a major stepping stone in my conservation career. I am grateful for the connections and even friendships I have made throughout this experience, and for the opportunity to work with the only non-profit in the world exclusively dedicated to Viverrid species.

The Civet Project is doing inspiring work and making amazing connections, and I am honoured to have been a part of it. I look forward to continuing to work alongside The Civet Project on behalf of the civet species with the goal of increased welfare, awareness, and conservation.


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