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Vulnerable species of civet born at Catoctin Wildlife Preserve

(9/15) A threatened species from Madagascar just got a little less rare with the addition of two Fossa pups, born at Catoctin Wildlife Preserve June 17. Only 5 zoos in the U.S. have successfully bred and raised this rare species. Now ten-weeks old, the male and female pair of pups are the second group born at the Preserve in two years. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the species as "Vulnerable," with their greatest threat in the wild coming from habitat destruction.

The pups are being hand-raised by the Preserve’s certified veterinary technician, Laurie Hahn, who was also responsible for successfully raising the two pups born in 2015. For unknown reasons, the Fossa mother rejected her pups a few days after birth. Since they are born blind and helpless, the pups would certainly have perished if not for staff intervention.

Raising baby Fossa requires feedings every two hours, around the clock, for their first two weeks. The pups now weigh over 500 grams and are beginning to eat solid foods in addition to their special liquid formula.

The cat-like carnivore became known to many after appearing in the animated Dreamworks film Madagascar. Slender and long-bodied, Fossa resemble small cougars and are closely related to mongoose. They are the largest mammalian carnivore on the island of Madagascar.

The Preserve is currently expanding the Fossa Forest facility and welcome sponsors and donations for the materials and labor to complete this important project. To make a donation, please contact the Executive Director, Richard Hahn, at 301-271-3180.

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