Friday, March 30, 2012

Bungalow owner wants to barbeque civet cat for dinner after it destroyed his phone wires

Bungalow owner wants to barbeque civet cat for dinner after it destroyed his phone wires
A civet cat, caught by a friend of STOMPer Animal lover, was to be 'barbequed for dinner' after it ate papayas growing on trees planted by the residents as well as chewing on telephone wires around the house.

The STOMPer wrote:

"I took these pictures when I went to visit a close friend who resides in a bungalow at Swiss Club Road.

"For the past week, he was harassed by the attacks of squirrels and civet cats.

"These destructive animals went into his compound to eat the juicy papayas grown on his trees and gnaw at the telephone wires.

"Having had enough, he decided to lay a trap for these pests and caught one last night.

"This morning, he decided to kill the civet cat and barbecue its meat for dinner.

"The common palm civet is an animal with sharp teeth and makes a racket during the night to avoid predators. It is common in Singapore and Malaysia, feeding on rambutans and papayas."
Bungalow owner wants to barbeque civet cat for dinner after it destroyed his phone wires
Bungalow owner wants to barbeque civet cat for dinner after it destroyed his phone wires
Bungalow owner wants to barbeque civet cat for dinner after it destroyed his phone wires
Bungalow owner wants to barbeque civet cat for dinner after it destroyed his phone wires

To say that this pisses me off greatly is an understatement.

When I saw Swiss Club Road mentioned in the post, memories were triggered. Looking through my archives, it turns out that a particular resident in that area has been mentioned on STOMP before, who seems bent on destroying the resident wildlife for seemingly minor transgressions. The original posts have been removed from the STOMP servers, but at least the content of the articles is still saved in my posts. I have a feeling that our civet-barbecuing scoundrel here is the same squirrel-drowning scumbag that I wrote about back in 2009.

Catching and apparently killing a common palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) is a clear-cut case of poaching, and is covered by the Wild Animals and Birds Act, which states that
Any person who kills, takes or keeps any wild animal or bird [...] without a licence shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000 and to the forfeiture of the wild animal or bird."
There is however a caveat in that same piece of legislation, which adds that
Nothing in this Act shall make it unlawful for the occupier or person in charge of any land to kill or take any wild animal or bird found damaging or destroying the crops or any other property thereon. In any prosecution under this Act, the onus of proof of the fact that any wild animal or bird was found damaging or destroying crops or other property shall be upon the person alleging the fact.
In 2009, the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) had cited this in response to angry comments that highlighted the supposed illegality of the act of drowning squirrels simply for chewing wires and leaving nutshells in the garden. It reeked of shirking of duties and responsibilities then, and I still get enraged whenever I am reminded of this. I doubt the AVA actually took it upon themselves to conduct a proper investigation at that point in time, to see if the homeowner actually had a justifiable case for persecuting wildlife that dared besmirch his perfect home. And now, he's moved on from squirrels to cooking civets. What next, is he planning to do the same for the next monkey or monitor lizard that wanders into his compound?

As much as I want to avoid being seen as shooting the messenger, I'm disappointed in the submitter's actions and choice of words. Surely he could have dissuaded his so-called friend? If he is an animal lover, as his nickname implies, the least he could have done was to suggest measures to reduce the damage caused by wildlife visiting the house. Surely it's not too difficult to invest in proper trunking to protect your wires, or to wrap your fruits as they ripen to ward off animals?

And please, what sort of lousy background information about the common palm civet is that? Saying that the common palm civet has "sharp teeth and makes a racket during the night" portrays a negative image, and does not say anything useful or meaningful about the animal's biology or behaviour. And while it is common and widespread in Malaysia (and much of Southeast Asia for that matter), to say that it is 'common' in Singapore is not very helpful at all. Yes, you could say that the common palm civet is relatively common when compared to other civet species in Singapore (which are considered Critically Endangered), but I doubt it's as widespread and conspicuous as say, the long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) or plantain squirrel (Callosciurus notatus). The common palm civet population in Siglap, which has been the subject of study, is estimated to be only around 20 to 30 individuals.

"Animal lover" indeed. *Derisive snort*

I've forwarded this to the Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES), and hopefully, their Wildlife Rescue / Wildlife Crime units may be able to find out the identity of the homeowner. However, without the cooperation of witnesses, they can only do so much, and I fear that it's already too late for this poor common palm civet. Judging by how it's crammed into what seems to be a commercially available rat trap, it's probably still a juvenile.

Weiting has done lots of work speaking up for the common palm civets of Siglap, and this example really illustrates the ignorant and appalling attitudes held by many people in Singapore. It's bad enough that some people remain ignorant of our wildlife, there is also that proportion who know about our native animals and deliberately seek to destroy them. How dare these stinking, filthy, disease-ridden beasts trespass on my private property, eat my fruits and damage my property?!

As I've emphasised time and time again, resolving human-wildlife conflict is as much about modifying human behaviour and attitudes towards wildlife, as it is about preventing wildlife from getting too close to human beings and property.

If more people take a walk in the Swiss Club Road area, there is the chance that we may be able to find the house depicted in the photographs, and track down this person. I admit that despite my pacifist tendencies, I have contemplated acts of great violence if I ever find the perpetrator of such contemptuous acts, so I'm hoping that there are others out there who are sufficiently outraged to do a bit of detective work, and still have the self-restraint to refrain from inflicting bodily harm upon him, no matter how deserved, and get the authorities to throw the book at him.