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Protected Wildlife Species Becoming a Top Thai Boutique Cafe and Perfume Performer

Wittaya Yensabai 22.02.2011 03:31
Protected Wildlife Species Becoming a Top Thai Boutique Cafe and Perfume Performer - Pattaya Times News - protected - wild - life


The Small Indian Civet is bringing about large-scale economic benefits to some Thai farmers, thanks to the production of their unctuous secretions painfully scraped from a gland near the genital organs (known as Choline Bitartrate) and the excrement of the animals which is used for civet coffee.



In Thailand, the properties of such animal ointment leads it to being used as an ingredient in traditional medicines, helping to strengthen good health, while the processed secretion is used as a fixative in perfumes.

As choline bitartrate from small Indian civets is in high demand and in short supply, it is quite pricey and sold to middlemen at around Bt200,000 per kilo (US$6,500) in Thailand. After the cleaning process, the animal ingredient is sold to traditional medicine producers at about Bt300,000-400,000 ($9,500-123,) per kilo.

"There’s no guarantee on how many civets can produce a certain amount of choline bitartrate. Therefore, we can't promise our customers and take orders from the market as much as we'd like even though the business could be better," said V.P. Pharmacy's managing director Apinya Vechpongsa.

Apart from the animal ointment, civet coffee from Small Indian Civet excrement, meanwhile, is something that coffee lovers should not miss.

At another farm, the animals are fed with coffee berries with only the finest berries with fleshy pulp being selected and eaten by the animals. The coffee beans, indigested through the animals' digestion system, come out as excrement and are processed as used for the most expensive and unusual human coffee beverage.

Civet coffee, believed to have originated in Indonesia, is harvested now in Malaysia and Vietnam. Known as 'Kopi Luwak' in Indonesia, it has become the world's most expensive coffee.

In Thailand, a cup of 'Kopi Luwak' coffee can be as pricy as Bt500 (US$16). In Australian and Britain it is dispensed in exclusive shops in Sydney and London for about US$100 per cup.

"The product is in short supply, but the market is not yet able to expand in the country due to the shortage of raw materials. I wish for a proper system to promote civet coffee by reducing some regulations, which can at the same time protect the animals," said Dr Chawal Thanhikorn of the Biodiversity-Based Economy Development Office (BE DO).

His organisation promotes the farming of Small Indian Civets for commercial purposes among Thai farmers and also enhances their import from Thailand's neighbouring countries for domestic farming.

Despite being a protected species in Thailand, the civets are currently nurtured in Huai Sai Wildlife Captive Breeding Center in Phetchaburi province's Cha-am district, southwest of Bangkok.

 

Caption: The Small Indian Civet is providing a good source of income to Thai farmers.

 



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