Habitat and Ecology
This species is partly frugivorous and insectivorous (Balakrishnan 2005), but will prey opportunistically on almost any small bird or mammal (Pocock 1941), including Indian chevrotain and monitor lizards (Varanus bengalensis; Mudappa 1999), mouse deer (Moschiola memmina; Mudappa 2002), and it occasionally even feeds on nectar (Hutton, 1944).
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 1996Vulnerable(Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
- 1994Vulnerable(Groombridge 1994)
- 1990Indeterminate(IUCN 1990)
- 1988Indeterminate(IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
This species occurs in several protected areas. Some of these include Rajamala Eravikulam National Park (Madhusudan 1995), Mukkurthi National Park (Yoganand and Kumar 1995, 1999), Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary and Silent Valley National Park (Christopher and Jayson 1996), Sholayar (Vijayan 1979), Upper Bhavani (Gokula and Ramachandran 1996), Brahmagiri (Schreiber et al. 1989), Kalakkadu-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (Mudappa, 2001), Periyar Tiger Reserve (Kurup and Joseph, 2001), and Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (Balakrishnan, 2005). It was also sighted in Silent Valley National Park, Attappadi Reserve Forest, Muthikkulam South Reserve Forest, and Nilambur South Reserve Forest by Balakrishnan (2005).
Schreiber et al. (1989) recommended field surveys to locate remaining populations and determine if existing reserves give adequate protection. Accordingly, a systematic survey has been conducted following the recommendation of the action plan. Although poaching incidents are not frequent in protected areas, measures to regulate hunting outside of these areas are ineffective, especially in lowland forests (Balakrishnan 2005). There is a need for more survey work, and more protected areas, especially in the lower altitudes of its range, and in particular the forests contiguous to Silent Valley National Park (Balakrishnan 2005).
The Nilgiri marten is similar to the yellow-throated marten, but is larger and essentially different in the structure of the skull - it has a prominent frontal concavity. It is unmistakable in the field as it is dark above with a bright throat ranging in colour from yellow to orange. which is the deep brown from head to rump, the forequarters being almost reddish.
It is about 55 to 65 cm long from head to vent and has a tail of 40 to 45 cm. It weighs about 2.1 kg.
Ecology and Behaviour
Very little is known about the Nilgiri marten. It is diurnal, and though arboreal, descends to the ground occasionally. It is reported to prey on birds, small mammals and insects such as cicadas.
- Choudhury, A., Wozencraft, C., Muddapa, D. & Yonzon, P. (2008). Martes gwatkinsii. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 21 March 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of vulnerable
- "The Book Of Indian Animals,S.H.PRATER Bombay Natural History Society, Oxford University Press, 2005".
- "Zoological Survey of India, Pune". Archived from the original on March 11, 2007. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
- Christopher, G. & Jayson, E.A. (1996) Sightings of Nilgiri marten (Martes gwatkinsii Horsfield) at Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary and Silent Valley National Park, Kerala, India. Small Carnivore Conservation, 15, 3-4.
- Madhusudan, M.D. (1995) Sighting of the Nilgiri marten (Martes gwatkinsii) at Eravikulam National Park, Kerala, India. Small Carnivore Conservation, 13, 6-7.
- Gokula, V. & Ramachandran, N.K. (1996) A record of the Nilgiri marten (Martes gwatkinsii Horsfield). J. Bombay nat. Hist. Soc., 93, 82.
- Mudappa, D. 1999 Lesser known carnivores of the Western Ghats IN ENVIS Bulletin : Wildlife, Protected areas: Mustelids, Viverrids and Herpestides of India 2(2): 65-70 Publisher: Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun, Editor: S. A. Hussain.
- Balakrishnan, P. (2005) Recent sightings and habitat characteristics of the endemic Nilgiri Marten Martes gwatkinsii in Western Ghats, India.
- Krishna, K. & Karnad, D. (2010) New records of the Nilgiri marten Martes gwatkinsii in the Western Ghats, India. Small Carnivore Conservation, 43, 23-27.
- Hutton, A.F. (1944) Feeding habits of the Nilgiri marten. J. Bombay nat. Hist. Soc., 48, 374-375
- "Nilgiri marten Martes gwatkinsii Horsfield, 1851". Archived from the original on September 15, 2007. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
13.The book of Indian Animals S.H.Prater, Bombay Natural History Society, Oxford University Press, 2005
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Photographs: Close encounters in the wild
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