In November 2022, I heard that there was a “strange creature” at the NaYiri Palace that I should go see. When I arrived, I found it trapped in a small iron cage used to sell pure water sachets. I immediately recognized it as a wild African Civet (Civettictis civetta) and it was extremely malnourished. It was emaciated, its fur was falling out and it had open wounds where children had been prodding it with sticks to elicit of dramatic reactions.
Those in charge of it claimed they didn’t know what to feed it other than meat (which was too expensive). A quick Wikipedia search revealed that they can literally eat just about anything. I pleaded with them to feed it and keep the children from disturbing it, then I headed home.
The next morning I received a call instructing me that the king wanted me to come back to the palace, collect the creature and take care of it for him. One does not refuse the king.
Upon bringing it home, I quickly built it a cage out of scrap wood I had laying around. I made the cage mobile by attaching old lawn mower wheels to one end and had it rest on the ground so that it could be moved around the yard. We dropped the civet in and left it for the night.
During the night it actually broke out of the cage but in its weakened state, it couldn’t escape over our yard’s 3-foot chain-link fence. I re-inforced the cage while it paced the yard and then Trey and Talata helped me to trap it in the cage again.
For the next nine months, it remained in the cage and we fed it a diet of bananas, eggs, rice, chicken skin and dog vitamins (and the occasional live bird). It gained weight quickly and its fur & color returned.
I eventually built it a much larger pen so that it would have space to roam and a better shelter from the rain. Since it likes tall grasses to hide and rest in, we planted tall grasses in the pen. Watch a video of the civet in its new pen.
I added a large banner display so that those passing by on the road can learn about this species and this particular animal’s story. I hope it leads to a better appreciation of the native, endangered wildlife of Mamprugu.