Of Pangolins and Civets in Vietnam

An Owston’s palm civet (Chrotogale owstoni) named ‘Bao’ at the Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Program (CPCP) at the entrance to Cuc Phuong National Park in Vietnam.

The Houston Zoo recognizes that strategic partnerships strengthen our ability to save animals in the wild.  We began our partnership with an organization called The Photo Ark in 2010.   It was founded by National Geographic photographer, Joel Sartore.  The goal of the Photo Ark is to photo document and display all of the world’s captive species in a way that people will want to care about them before they disappear.

Joel Sartore and Peter Riger, the Houston Zoo’s Vice-President of Conservation, are in Vietnam visiting a variety of rehabilitation and rescue centers to take photos of some of the rarest species in captivity. Here is a post about the adventure from Peter Riger.


There is an amazing amount of wildlife diversity in Southeast Asia and Vietnam specifically has a number of endemic species, some of which we have shown you with the primates. My first trip to Vietnam for the Houston Zoo was around 2006 to visit with what was then the Owston’s Palm Civet (OPC) project based out of Cuc Phuong National Park.

A masked palm civet or gem-faced civet (Paguma larvata) named ‘Meo’ at the Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Program (CPCP) at the entrance to Cuc Phuong National Park in Vietnam

At the time we were considering working with OPC and even importing some non-releasable animals for the zoo from the center. In the end, the civets were not a good fit for the Houston Zoo, but a number of zoos in the UK are now managing them.

OPC’s role at the time was to handle confiscations, rehabilitate and breed for potential release, thus very unique species. Later, they became the Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Center (CPCC) and act as a rehab facility for small carnivores like the Owston’s Palm Civet and Asian Pangolins.

A Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) named Lucky at the Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Program (CPCP) at the entrance to Cuc Phuong National Park in Vietnam.

Stay tuned for more from the Houston Zoo’s Vice President of Conservation, Peter Riger and the Photo Ark’s, Joel Sartore in Vietnam.

To donate and learn more about the Photo Ark click here.  And remember the Houston Zoo is saving animals in the wild, every time you visit the Zoo you help us to do this awesome work!

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