Agra airport gets a strange guest


Agra's Kheria airport had a strange guest who could not be welcomed by the terminal staff for want of expertise -- an Asian Palm Civet.

Since most airport employees were not familiar with this wild animal, there was quite a stir until help arrived from Wildlife SOS.

The team confirmed that the animal had wandered from a neighbouring forest into the restricted space and sought refuge in a corner of a wash room.

It took the team members almost 30 minutes to carry out the rescue operation as they had to be careful not to cause the scared animal any further stress. The animal is currently under veterinary observation to ensure that it is in good health.

Terminal Manager Gajraj Singh said: "We did not want to startle the animal or cause it any harm, so thought it best to let it be till we found help."

Civet cats play an important role in the ecosystem by controlling the rodent population and help in dispersal of seeds as they often feed on fruits.

The Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus), also called a toddy cat, is a small member of the family Viverridae native to South and Southeast Asia. 

This species is protected under Schedule II of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Their perineal gland secretes a waxy civet amusk' that is used in perfumes and medicines.

An official of the NGO said rapid habitat encroachment and deforestation was beginning to redefine the boundaries between forest and urban areas. Consequently, incidents of wild animals straying into urban areas were increasing.