Overview

Comprehensive Description

Miscellaneous Details

Original Description/Nomenclature

Viverra civettina

  • Ommer, N P (1998) Checklist of Indian Mammals. Kerala Forest Department (Wildlife Wing)
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Summary

Principal Habitat

Low elevation wet forests

  • Ommer, N P (1998) Checklist of Indian Mammals. Kerala Forest Department (Wildlife Wing)
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Distribution

Range Description

This species is endemic to the Western Ghats of India and has been recorded mostly in the coastal district of the Western Ghats, in southern India from Kanyakumariin the extreme south to as far as Wayanad, Coorg, and Honnavar in Karnataka in the north (Pocock, 1933, 1939; Corbet and Hill, 1992). There are only two reports of its occurrence in the higher elevation (>600 m) of the Western Ghats, in the High Wavy Mountains (Hutton, 1949) and possibly in Kudremukh (Karanth, 1986). The former is open to severe doubt. By the late 1960s, it was thought to be near extinction. From 1950 to 1990, there were only two possible records of this species, one in Kudremukh in Karnataka (Karanth, 1986) and the other in Tiruvella in Kerala (Kurup, 1989). After being listed as possibly extinct, skins of recently killed civets were obtained in Elayur, in the lowland Western Ghats, in Malappuram district, Kerala (Kurup, 1989) and near Nilambur (northern Kerala) (Ahsraf et al., 1993). Rai and Kumar (1993) report information of possible occurrence in Karnataka State.
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Endemic Distribution

"
Occurrence is States along Western Ghats

Kerala,Tamilnadu,Karnataka

Occurrence in Latitudes degrees N

8-9,9-10,10-11,11-12,12-13

"
  • Ommer, N P (1998) Checklist of Indian Mammals. Kerala Forest Department (Wildlife Wing)
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Historic Range:
India

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Though little is known about its biology and ecology, there are some descriptions of habitat use: it once inhabited lowland forests, lowland swamp and riparian forests in the coastal plain districts of Western Ghats - although now it appears to be confined to thickets in cashew plantations and to highly degraded lowland forests in northern Kerala (Ashraf et al. 1993). It has been found in lowland riparian forests in the coastal plain districts (Ashraf et al. 1993). The species is nocturnal and probably elusive.

Natural forests have completely disappeared in the entire stretch of coastal Western Ghats, thus the present vegetation is of secondary origin (Champion and Seth, 1968), and is mostly plantations (Ashraf et al, 1993). Of these, cashew plantations are the least disturbed, as they are not weeded, providing a dense understory of shrubs and grasses for this terrestrial species to take refuge in (Ashraf et al, 1993). However, most records from 1960-1990 were in valleys around riparian areas, suggesting that this species is dependent of shallow water courses where it may forage at night (Ashraf et al, 1993).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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General Habitat

Principal Habitat

Low elevation wet forests

  • Ommer, N P (1998) Checklist of Indian Mammals. Kerala Forest Department (Wildlife Wing)
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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 15.4 years (captivity) Observations: These animals have been known to live at least 15.4 years in captivity (Richard Weigl 2005). Considering the longevity of similar species and the fact few animals have been kept in captivity, it is possible that maximum longevity is underestimated.
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
CR
Critically Endangered

Red List Criteria
C2a(i)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Jennings, A., Veron, G. & Helgen, K.

Reviewer/s
Duckworth, J.W. (Small Carnivore Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
This species is listed as Critically Endangered because its population size is estimated to number fewer than 250 mature individuals, with no subpopulation greater than 50 individuals, and it is likely that it is experiencing a continuing decline. A continuing decline is inferred from the lack of any recent records and almost complete loss of habitat. What individuals remain are marginalized in sub-optimal habitat and any populations or reproductive individuals are severely fragmented and isolated. This species has a very restricted distribution and there is no recent evidence that it still exists within it protected areas.

History
  • 1996
    Critically Endangered
  • 1994
    Endangered
    (Groombridge 1994)
  • 1990
    Endangered
    (IUCN 1990)
  • 1988
    Endangered
    (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
  • 1986
    Endangered
    (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)
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Current Listing Status Summary

Status: Endangered
Date Listed: 07/27/1979
Lead Region: Foreign (Region 10) 
Where Listed: Entire


Population detail:

Population location: Entire
Listing status: E

For most current information and documents related to the conservation status and management of Viverra civettina, see its USFWS Species Profile

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Population

Population
The population status is unknown. It was thought to be possibly extinct, then rediscovered (Kurup 1989; Ashraf et al. 1993; Rai and Kumar 1993), but there is no further recent information and no recent sightings of live Malabar civets (Rao et al. 2007).

This species was once very common in the districts of Malabar and Travancore in southwest India, but by the late 1960s it was thought to be near extinction, it was not sighted again until 1987. From 1950 to 1990 there were only two possible sightings of this species, one in Kudremukh in Karnataka (Karanth 1986) and the other in Tiruvella in Kerala (Kurup, 1989). After being listed as possibly extinct, it was rediscovered in Elayur, in the lowland Western Ghats, in Malappuram district, Kerala (Kurup 1989).

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
The main threat to this species is the loss and degradation of forest habitat. Natural forests have completely disappeared in the entire stretch of the coastal Western Ghats (Champion and Seth 1968).

In the past, this species was widely used to collect civet oil. It is now threatened by habitat loss and retaliatory killings for raiding poultry. This species is seriously threatened by habitat destruction and fragmentation, as well as by hunting, as it occurs outside protected areas (Ashraf et al. 1993). The use of civet-musk is said to have been in widespread use between 1965-1970 (Ashraf et al. 1993). Cashew plantations, which may hold most of the surviving populations of this species, are threatened by large-scale clearance for planting rubber trees (Ashraf et al. 1993). This species is not selectively hunted, but 10 of 22 records from 1950 to 1990 were caught by dogs (Ashraf et al. 1990).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
It is listed in Schedule I, part I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and on CITES Appendix III (India). This species does not occur in protected areas and the development of protected areas in its range is unlikely due to dense human populations (Ashraf et al, 1993). Ashraf et al (1993) recommends the following conservation actions for this species: captive breeding (with the possibility of reintroduction if suitable undisturbed areas are identified), field surveys (to investigate whether this species occurs in protected areas) and ecological studies (to determine the threats to this species). An urgent conservation action plan is needed.
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Wikipedia

Malabar large-spotted civet

The Malabar large-spotted civet (Viverra civettina), also known as the Malabar civet, is a viverrid endemic to the Western Ghats of India. It is listed as Critically Endangered by IUCN as its population size is estimated to number fewer than 250 mature individuals, with no subpopulation greater than 50 individuals.[2] In the 1990s, isolated populations still survived in less disturbed areas of South Malabar but were seriously threatened by habitat destruction and hunting because they lived outside protected areas.[3]

It is known as Kannan chandu and Male meru in Kerala, and in Karnataka as Mangala kutri, Bal kutri and Dodda punugina.[4]

Contents

Characteristics[edit]

The Malabar large-spotted civet is dusky gray. It has a dark mark on the cheek, large transverse dark marks on the back and sides, and two obliquely transverse dark lines on the neck. These dark marks are more pronounced than in the large Indian civet. Its throat and neck are white. A mane starts between the shoulders. Its tail is ringed with dark bands. The feet are dark.[5] It differs from the large-spotted civet by the greater nakedness of the soles of the feet. The hairs on the interdigital webs between the digital pads form submarginal patches; the skin of the plantar pad is naked in front and at the sides. There are remnants of the metatarsal pads on the hind foot as two naked spots, the external a little above the level of the hallux, the internal considerably higher. A male individual kept in the Zoological Gardens of Trivandrum in the 1930s measured 30 in (76 cm) in head and body with a 13 in (33 cm) long tail and weighed 14.5 lb (6.6 kg).[6]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

In the 19th century, Malabar civets occurred throughout the Malabar coast from the latitude of Honore to Cape Comorin. They inhabited the forests and richly wooded lowland, and were occasionally found on elevated forest tracts. They were considered abundant in Travancore.[5]

Until the 1960s, extensive deforestation has reduced most of the natural forests in the entire stretch of the coastal Western Ghats.[7] By the late 1960s, Malabar civets were thought to be near extinction. In 1987, one individual was sighted in Kerala.[8]

In 1987, two skins were obtained near Nilambur in northern Kerala, an area that is dominated by cashew and rubber plantations. Two more skins were found in this area in 1990. These plantations probably held most of the surviving population, as these were little disturbed and provided a dense understory of shrubs and grasses. Large-scale clearance for planting rubber trees threatened this habitat.[3]

Interviews conducted in the early 1990s among local hunters indicated their presence in protected areas of Karnataka.[4] During camera traping surveys in lowland evergreen and semi-evergreen forests in the Western Ghats of Karnataka and Kerala from April 2006 to March 2007, no photographic record was obtained in a total of 1,084 camera trap nights.[9]

Ecology and behavior[edit]

Malabar civets are considered nocturnal and so elusive that little is known about their biology and ecology apart from habitat use.[3]

Threats[edit]

Until a few decades ago, Ayurvedic physicians in Kerala reared Malabar civets to obtain civetone, an extract from the scent gland, which was used in medicine, and as an aromatic.[4]

It is now seriously threatened by habitat destruction and fragmentation. Until the 1990s, it was confined to remnant forests and disturbed thickets in cashew and rubber plantations in northern Kerala, where the hunting pressure was another major threat.[3]

Taxonomic history[edit]

Reginald Innes Pocock considered V. megaspila and V. civettina to be distinct species.[6] Ellerman and Morrison-Scott considered V. civettina a subspecies of V. megaspila.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wozencraft, W. C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 532–628. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ a b Jennings, A., Veron, G. and Helgen, K. (2008). "Viverra civettina". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. 
  3. ^ a b c d Ashraf, N. V. K., Kumar, A. and Johnsingh, A. J. T. (1993). Two endemic viverrids of the Western Ghats, India. Oryx 27: 109–114.
  4. ^ a b c Rai, N. D. and Kumar, A. (1993). A pilot study on the conservation of the Malabar civet, Viverra civettina (Blyth, 1862): project report. Small Carnivore Conservation 9: 3–7.
  5. ^ a b Jerdon, T. C. (1874). Mammals of India: a natural history of the animals known to inhabit continental India. John Wheldon, London.
  6. ^ a b Pocock, R. I. (1939). The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Mammalia. – Volume 1. Taylor and Francis, London.
  7. ^ Champion, H. G. and Seth, S. K. (1968). A revised survey of the forest types of India. Government of India, Delhi.
  8. ^ Kurup, C. U. (1987). The rediscovery of the Malabar civet, Viverra megaspila civettina Blyth in lndia. Cheetal 28(2): 1–4.
  9. ^ Rao, S., Ashraf, N. V. K. and Nixon, A. M. A. (2007). Search for the Malabar Civet Viverra civettina in Karnataka and Kerala, India, 2006–2007. Small Carnivore Conservation 37: 6–10.
  10. ^ Ellerman, J. R. and Morrison-Scott, T. C. S. (1966). Checklist of Palaearctic and Indian Mammals 1758 to 1946. Second edition. British Museum of Natural History, London.
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