Toddy cat rescued from Srinagar town, returned to wild

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SRINAGAR: A wild cat, Palm Civit also known as Toddy Cat suddenly appeared in Bulbul Bagh near Barzulla Srinagar on Tuesday attracting hundreds of people causing a chaos like situation. While the locals tried to harm the poor animal, the wit and skill shown by Wildlife Warden Central, Tahir Shawl not only helped in rescuing the animal but also earning applause for the entire wildlife team.

The real problem, however, was not capturing the animal but handling and controlling the mob who had assembled in thousands leading to a chaotic situation besides scaring the poor animal. The frenzied mob was hell bent to harm the innocent creature which had unfortunately strayed into their locality. 

The wildlife Warden Central Division Srinagar, Dachigam, Tahir Shawl when contacted, informed that he received some phone calls from the DC office and Police Control Room Srinagar in the afternoon informing that some wild animal had entered in the Bulbul Bagh locality and a large assemblage of people had created panic. 

“We despatched a team of rescuers from Dachigam National park along with rescue van and necessary equipment,” Shawl said. “The mob was not letting them to smoothly conduct the rescue operation and it became terribly difficult for them to rescue the animal.” 

“Two employee of wildlife team also got injured in the process while saving the animal,” he said. “Even the police failed to control the people when requested to assist in the rescue process.” The animal was ultimately rescued safely and taken to Dachigam Park. “The wildlife warden informed the animal was identified as a Common Palm Civet and was later released in the forest very safely under my supervision.” 

He expressed his dismay over the manner in which people responded to a problem which could easily have been handled by the wildlife officials. “I am very much surprised to see the reaction of people and their intention to kill the harmless creature that could otherwise had left the place if given the passage without creating panic said the Warden.” The injured wildlife employees were given treatment in the hospital for bearing injuries on their hands. 

The palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus), also called toddy cat, is a small member of the family Viverridae native to South and Southeast Asia. It is a small, mottled gray and black viverrid weighing 2 to 5 kg (4.4 to 11.0 lb). It has a body length of about 53 cm (21 in) with a 48 cm (19 in) long tail. Its long, stocky body is covered with coarse, shaggy hair that is usually greyish in colour. 

In 2008,the IUCN classified the species as Least Concern as it is tolerant of a broad range of habitats. It is widely distributed with large populations that in 2008 were thought unlikely to be declining. In 2012, it was suggested that recent increases in capturing the animals for Kopi Luwak production may constitute a significant threat to wild civet populations.

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