Overview

Distribution

Range Description

The Bornean ferret badger is endemic to the island of Borneo, where it is suspected to occur in Kalimantan, Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak (Wozencraft 2005) However, the only confirmed records seem to be from Mount Kinabalu and surrounds in Sabah (Payne et al. 1985) with only one subsequent sighting reported from there by Dinets (2003) at 1,950 m. Museum individuals have been determined to have been from two other points outside the massif, in Penem Pang and Tuaran. However, the age of these specimens, how they were acquired, and therefore the reliability of the two locations, is unknown. This species is considered high montane, found from 900 to 3,700 m (Payne et al. 1985), and these outlying locations are near low-lying coastal areas.
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Geographic Range

Melogale everetti is only found on Mt. Kinabalu on the Northern tip of the island of Borneo. Mt. Kinabalu is in Kinabalu Park in the state of Sabah, Malaysia. It is the only ferret badger to inhabit this region.

Biogeographic Regions: oriental (Native )

Other Geographic Terms: island endemic

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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Melogale everetti is small and long compared to other species of ferret badger. They weigh between one and two kg, and are between 330 and 440 mm in length. The tail is long and bushy and can be from 152 to 230 mm in length.

Ferret badgers have short legs and broad feet with strong digging claws that are characteristic of badgers. There are ridges that run along the pads of the feet and the toes are partially webbed. These are thought to be climbing adaptations.

The defining characteristic of a ferret badger is the white or yellowish ferret-like mask on the face. A dorsal stripe is also present that can range in color from white to red. The rest of the body can range from grey-brown to dark black with a lighter under side.

No specific data exist on variations in coloration between the different ferret badger species, or whether they exhibit geographic variation.

Range mass: 1 to 3 kg.

Range length: 330 to 430 mm.

  • Walker, E. 1964. Mammals of the World, Vol. 2. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
it is mostly carnivorous, but will eat some plant matter; it feeds on earthworms, lizards, small birds and rats, and reportedly eat fruit as well. It was recorded foraging in a small roadside garbage dump in montane broadleaf forest (Dinets, 2003). This species is fossorial and lives in preexisting holes, rather than digging new ones (Taylor, 1989). It is nocturnal and feeds primarily on small animals such as insects, earthworms, snails, frogs, and sometimes carcasses of small birds and mammals, eggs, and fruit (Chian and Sheng, 1976; Long and Killingley, 1983; Ewer, 1985; Neal, 1986; Chuang, 1994).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Melogale everetti occurs on Mt. Kinabalu at elevations of 1,000 to 3,000 m. It is a little-studied species, so information on the particulars of its habitat are lacking. However, the habitat of the genus Melogale is wooded hillsides and sub-tropical and tropical forests. Considering the supporting information, the latter of the three is the most logical habitat description for this particular ferret badger, although there seems to be no information stating this specifically.

Range elevation: 1,000 to 3,000 m.

Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: rainforest ; mountains

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

All Melogale species appear to be very omnivorous. Ferret badgers forage on the ground mostly for invertebrates, amphibians, insects, fruit and carrion. They are also formidable climbers and have been known to forage in trees as well.

Animal Foods: birds; mammals; amphibians; reptiles; eggs; carrion ; insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods; terrestrial worms

Plant Foods: fruit

Primary Diet: omnivore

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Associations

Ecosystem Roles

Once again this is a field that has not been explored in reference to M. everetti. However, it is likely that because of their predatory behavior, these animals affect the populations of prey organisms. To the extent that these badgers must dig through the upper levels of soils to obtain food, these animals probably contribute to help to aerate the soil.

Ecosystem Impact: soil aeration

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Predation

The stripe and mask of M. everetti and its counterparts are thought to be warning coloration. Ferret badgers are said to emit a pungent scent from their anal glands when threatened.

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Known prey organisms

Melogale everetti preys on:
non-insect arthropods
Annelida
Arthropoda
Insecta
Amphibia
Reptilia
Aves
Mammalia
Melogale everetti

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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Known predators

Melogale everetti is prey of:
Melogale everetti

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication and Perception

Melogale everetti exhibits warning coloration and exudes a pungent odor from its scent glands if pressed. These forms of communication are similar to, but not as extreme as, those of skunks.

As is true of virtually all mammals, visual signals, tactile cues, scents, and vocalizations probably play some role in communication between conspecifics. However,  because there seem have been no observations of the behavior of M. everetti in the wild or in captivity published, it is mpt possible to comment further on any specific forms of communication used by these animals.

Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

Perception Channels: visual ; acoustic

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

There appears to be no information on the lifespan of M. everetti either in the wild or in captivity. However, a very similar species, Melogale moschata, the Chinese ferret badger, is said to have still been living after 10 years and 6 months in captivity.

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Reproduction

Information on the mating system of this species is not available.

The breeding season of the genus Melogale is long and the females are actually able to reproduce at any point in the year. Males, however, undergo a period of non-reproduction. During this time (from around September to December) the male ferret badger ceases sperm production.

Females give birth to litters of 1 to 5 offspring after a gestation of 57 to 80 days. Young are weaned between 2 and 3 months of age.

Ferret badgers do not employ delayed implantation of embryos. Young are usually born in May and June.

Breeding interval: It is likely that these animals breed annually.

Breeding season: from around March to September

Range number of offspring: 1 to 5.

Range gestation period: 57 to 80 days.

Range weaning age: 2 to 3 months.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); fertilization ; viviparous

Little is known about the parental care in this species. Mothers care for their young in a burrow until they are able to forage for themselves. Nursing lasts for between 2 and 3 months. It is not known exactally when the young become independent of the mother, or whether the father plays any part in parental care.

Parental Investment: pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
DD
Data Deficient

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Duckworth, J.W. & Azlan, M.J.

Reviewer/s
Belant, J. (Small Carnivore Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
This species is listed as Data Deficient as there is not currently sufficient information available to evaluate the species against the Red List categories and criteria. It is not known what impact, if any, known potential threats are having and whether the species is in decline at all, let alone at a rate sufficient to qualify for listing. Because plausible threats operate potentially through habitat change and non-specific hunting, there is a strong need for more survey work and research on this species and a priority is to evaluate its true status and threats.

History
  • 1996
    Vulnerable
  • 1994
    Insufficiently Known
    (Groombridge 1994)
  • 1990
    Insufficiently Known
    (IUCN 1990)
  • 1988
    Insufficiently Known
    (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
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The range of these animals is very limited, and as such, the population of these ferret badgers seems to be one which could easily be erradicated if proper steps are not taken to conserve its habitat. Although CITES and the US Endangered Species act don't consider the species any special risk, IUCN lists it as vulnerable.

Luckily for M. everetti, the range of the species falls into a protected national conservation park.

US Migratory Bird Act: no special status

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: data deficient

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Population

Population
Nothing is known about the Bornean ferret badger population status or size within the massif.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
The only recorded sightings of Bornean ferret badgers have occurred on the Kinabalu massif, near and within the National Park. Much of the massif has been converted to other uses, e.g. agriculture, but it is unclear to what level, if any, this species depends upon extensive, old-growth, or any sort of forest; some other Melogale spp. are very adaptable to forest fragmentation and degradation (see account for M. moschata), but the same cannot be assumed for this species. If it truly extends down to the lowlands and if it is in any way dependent upon extensive or old-growth forest, then it will have lost a large part of its recent habitat through the heavy conversion of natural forests in Sabah lowlands in the last few decades. There is no information on its susceptibility to whatever hunting levels occur in its range. It is not significantly traded, but it is no doubt caught in non-selective traps. In sum, several plausible threats operate but it is unclear if any are threats at the population level.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The species is currently listed on the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 as Melogale personata not as Melogale everetti, and this needs to be updated. The species was recorded from Mount Kinabalu National Park in 2002 (Dinets 2003), but given that all records are from this area, surveys are needed to look for additional populations.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There appears to be no information has been published on any negative affects of M. everetti upon humans.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

People travel from all over the world to visit Kinabalu Park where M. everetti resides. Kinabalu Park has a rich diversity of flora and fauna that attracts tourists. This tourism generates money for the surrounding area and the native people. Also, these animals may help humans in more direct ways. The Burmese ferret badger (Melogale personata) is said to be welcomed into the homes of the natives because their rid the premises of unwanted pests such as insects and invertebrates.

Positive Impacts: ecotourism

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Wikipedia

Bornean ferret-badger

The Bornean ferret-badger (Melogale everetti), also known as Everett's ferret-badger or the Kinabalu ferret-badger, is a member of the family Mustelidae. The scientific name commemorates British colonial administrator and zoological collector Alfred Hart Everett.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

This species of ferret-badger is only known with certainty from the highland forests on Mount Kinabalu and nearby regions in Sabah, Malaysia, but is suspected to occur elsewhere on Borneo, including Brunei, Kalimantan (to Indonesia) and Sarawak (to Malaysia). Their biggest threat is habitat loss through the rapid deforestation in Borneo.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Duckworth, J.W. & Azlan, J. (2008). Melogale everetti. 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 data deficient
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