Some young men in a Nigerian village recently killed a civet which they interestingly called a “terrorist” apparently because it was preying on fowls in the village.
Most people erroneously call civet wild cat.
The incident appeared to have taken place at a community in Akwa Ibom, Nigeria’s South-South region, going by the post of a Facebook user, Mfon Japhet.
“I was in the village today (Ikot Akpan Anwa) and this terrorist was killed by my boys,” the user said on August 24 in the Facebook post.
He posted photos of young men displaying the lifeless animal.
“Our fowls can now move about freely in search of feed,” he said.
Edem Eniang, a professor of forestry and wildlife, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, identified the dead animal as African civet which he described as “One of the most important gift of nature to Africa”.
African civet, according to www.animalia.bio, does not belong to the cat family, even though they possess some cat-like features and also behave like cats.
“(They) are more closely related to weasels, mongooses, and other small carnivores,” said the website which is devoted to animals.
“These animals are most well known for their musk that they secrete to mark their territory (called civetone), as used in manufacturing perfume for centuries, and for their striking black and white colouring, making them one of the easiest species of civet to identify.”
The African civet is nocturnal and could be found throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
They weigh between 7 and 20 killogrammes, and are about 40 centimetres in height and between 67 and 84 centimetres in length.
They feed mainly on wild fruits, rodents, and insects like grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, and termites. They also eat eggs, reptiles, and birds.
The African civet is not listed as endangered species, even though people hunt it because of its musk, a popular ingredient for perfumes.
One Facebook user said to Japhet and his ‘boys’, “You are the only terrorist here, killing the poor animal.”
“This is a very good catch. Wonderful meat,” another Facebook user commented on Japhet’s post.
Mr Eniang, from Akwa Ibom State, has been on a conservation campaign for several years now, locally and globally, trying to dissuade people from killing and eating wild animals.
He told PREMIUM TIMES about three years ago how difficult it is to take the message of conservation to people in Nigeria.
“How can you plant conservation etiquette in a mind that is hungry? There’s so much hunger in the land, there’s so much challenge for survival. So, nobody will listen to you except you give them an alternative. We need to build that into the conservation plan,” Mr Eniang said, back then in 2016.