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The Civet Project Is Awarded Prestigious MBZ Grant

The Civet Project is delighted to have been awarded a grant from the Mohamed bin Zayed Conservation Fund to support an upcoming research and documentary investigation into the impact of the civet tourism on Owston’s civet (Chrotogale owstoni) conservation.

Established in 2008, the MBZ Fund has supported over 2,600 conservation projects in 160 countries. The MBZ has a reputation for excellence in supporting high-impact projects that seek to safeguard the future of threatened species and has thus far protected 1,600 species from extinction.

Speaking of the significance of this funding development, The Civet Project Founding Director, Jes Hooper, said:

“With only 12% of applications meeting success, we are over the moon to be awarded funding from the Mohamed bin Zayed Conservation Fund. The grant program is highly competitive and so succeeding in our application gives further credibility to our efforts and the importance of our project for safeguarding the future for civet species. We are exceptionally grateful to have received this support and recognition”

Civet coffee and meat is heavily connected to increased tourism in Vietnam. However, this link has yet to be assessed in terms of species conservation, despite increased civet poaching to supply tourism being likely. It is particularly likely that civet coffee and civet meat is increasing in demand throughout the Annamite mountain range, the last remaining stronghold of Owston’s civets, due to a growth in tourism throughout the region.

The Civet Project’s investigation will assess these market drivers through surveys of key tourism sites surrounding the Annamite mountains including civet coffee farms, public tours, wild animal markets, and cafes and restaurants selling wild meat.

The project will then also involve in-person interviews with tourism operators, tourists and consumers, to understand the motivational drivers and marketing messages that contribute to a desire to interact with live civets and consume civet products when travelling.

Overall, it is hoped that this research will contribute to the body of evidence required for species evaluations by the IUCN SSC, which already list the Owston’s civet as “Endangered” by extinction. If the market drivers for civets are pushing wild capture methods (including indiscriminate snaring) further into the Owston’s civet’s last remaining stronghold, then their conservation status could be amended to “Critically Endangered”.

This research does not, however, end there. The project is also being disseminated to wider public audiences via an online media campaign and documentary film that will showcase the importance of sustainable consumerism and ethical animal tourism in Asia. The documentary has already gained the support of the Culture & Animals Foundation, and the “stop civet coffee” message has been endorsed by UN Messenger of Peace, Dame Jane Goodall.

With increased public awareness, this project aims to encourage tourism operators to engage more fully with wildlife conservation commitments by removing unsustainable and unethical practices from their platforms.

How You Can Support:

If you would like to support this research and outreach project, please consider giving an online donation.

Learn more about the project on our website.

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