|Malabar large-spotted civet|
|Stuffed specimen at Government Museum, Chennai|
|Viverra civettina |
|Malabar large-spotted civet range|
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 on the IUCN Red List as the population is estimated to number fewer than 250 mature individuals. It has not been recorded during surveys carried out between 1990 and 2014.In the early 1990s, isolated populations still survived in less disturbed areas of South Malabar but were seriously threatened by habitat destruction and hunting outside protected areas.
It is known as Kannan chandu and Male meru in Kerala വെരുക് (veruk) in Malayalam, and in Karnataka as Mangala kutri, Bal kutri and Dodda punugina.
Viverra civettina was the scientific name proposed by Edward Blyth in 1862 for a civet specimen from southern Malabar.Reginald Innes Pocock considered V. megaspila and V. civettina to be distinct species. Ellerman and Morrison-Scott considered V. civettina a subspecies of V. megaspila. IUCN Red List considers it a distinct species.
There is some controversy as to whether the Malabar civet is even native to the Western Ghats or whether it is a valid species. Background information for the specimens is scant, so there is little to no information on its ecology or habits. In spite of the heavy habitat destruction in the region, the civet still seems unusually threatened for a small, generalist carnivore. The region where the civet was known to occur is the site of a major trading port, formerly including the trade of civets such as the large-spotted civet. Due to this, there is some speculation on whether the Malabar civet is an introduced population of the large-spotted civet that eventually died off.
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. 30 in (76 cm) in head and body with a 13 in (33 cm) long tail and weighed 14.5 lb (6.6 kg).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
In the 19th century, the Malabar civet occurred throughout the Malabar coast from the latitude of Honnavar to Kanyakumari. It inhabited the forests and richly wooded lowland, and was occasionally found on elevated forest tracts. It was considered abundant in Travancore.
Until the 1960s, extensive deforestation has reduced most of the natural forests in the entire stretch of the coastal Western Ghats.By the late 1960s, the Malabar civet was thought to be near extinction. In 1987, one individual was sighted in Kerala.
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 understorey of shrubs and grasses. Large-scale clearance for planting rubber trees threatened this habitat.
Interviews conducted in the early 1990s among local hunters indicated the presence of Malabar civet in protected areas of Karnataka.During camera trapping 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.
The Malabar civet is considered nocturnal and so elusive that little is known about its biology and ecology apart from habitat use.
Until a few decades ago, local merchants in Kerala reared Malabar civets to obtain civetone, an extract from the scent gland, which was used in medicine, and as an aromatic.
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.
During the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown of India, a video clip of an unidentified civet walking the deserted streets of Meppayur was uploaded on Twitter. The civet was identified by its uploader as a Malabar civet and the clip subsequently went viral online. However, numerous experts identified the civet in the video as actually being the small Indian civet (Viverricula indica), a similar-looking but far more common species.
The Western Ghats, also known as Sahyadri, are a mountain range that covers an area of 140,000 square kilometres (54,000 sq mi) in a stretch of 1,600 kilometres (990 mi) parallel to the western coast of the Indian peninsula, traversing the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the eight hot-spots of biological diversity in the world. It is sometimes called the Great Escarpment of India. It contains a large proportion of the country's flora and fauna, many of which are only found in India and nowhere else in the world. According to UNESCO, the Western Ghats are older than the Himalayas. They influence Indian monsoon weather patterns by intercepting the rain-laden monsoon winds that sweep in from the south-west during late summer. The range runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain, called Konkan, along the Arabian Sea. A total of thirty-nine areas in the Western Ghats, including national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserve forests, were designated as world heritage sites in 2012 – twenty in Kerala, ten in Karnataka, six in Tamil Nadu and four in Maharashtra.
Viverridae is a family of small to medium-sized mammals, the viverrids, comprising 15 genera, which are subdivided into 38 species. This family was named and first described by John Edward Gray in 1821. Viverrids occur all over Africa, into southern Europe, in South and Southeast Asia across the Wallace Line. Their occurrence in Sulawesi and in some of the adjoining islands shows them to be ancient inhabitants of the Old World tropics.
The Asian palm civet is a viverrid native to South and Southeast Asia. Since 2008, it is IUCN Red Listed as Least Concern as it accommodates to a broad range of habitats. It is widely distributed with large populations that in 2008 were thought unlikely to be declining. In Indonesia, it is threatened by poaching and illegal wildlife trade; buyers use it for the increasing production of kopi luwak, a form of coffee that involves ingestion and excretion of the beans by the animal.
The African palm civet, also known as the two-spotted palm civet, is a small feliform mammal widely distributed in sub-Saharan Africa. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.
The African civet is a large viverrid native to sub-Saharan Africa, where it is considered common and widely distributed in woodlands and secondary forests. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 2008. In some countries, it is threatened by hunting, and wild-caught individuals are kept for producing civetone for the perfume industry.
Hose's palm civet, also known as Hose's civet, is a viverrid species endemic to the island of Borneo. It is listed on the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable because of an ongoing population decline, estimated to be more than 30% over the last three generations and suspected to be more than 30% in the next three generations due to declines in population inferred from habitat destruction and degradation.
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The Malabar spiny dormouse is a species of muroid rodent endemic to the Western Ghats of India. It is the only extant species in the genus Platacanthomys and although resembling a dormouse, it is not closely related. About the size of a brown rat, this arboreal species lives in tree holes in dense forest habitats in a small family group. They are distinguishable from other species in the area by their bushy tuft tip to the tail and the spiny fur on the back.
The brown palm civet also called the Jerdon's palm civet is a palm civet endemic to the Western Ghats of India.
The large-spotted civet is a viverrid native to Southeast Asia that is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
The Malayan civet, also known as the Malay civet and Oriental civet, is a viverrid native to the Malay Peninsula and the islands of Sumatra, Bangka, Borneo, the Riau Archipelago, and the Philippines. It is listed as "Least Concern" by IUCN as it is a relatively widely distributed, appears to be tolerant of degraded habitats, and occurs in a number of protected areas.
The large Indian civet is a viverrid native to South and Southeast Asia. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. The global population is considered decreasing mainly because of trapping-driven declines in heavily hunted and fragmented areas, notably in China, and the heavy trade as wild meat.
The state of Karnataka in South India has a rich diversity of flora and fauna. It has a recorded forest area of 38720 km2 which constitutes 1234.67719% of the total geographical area of the state. These forests support 25% of the elephant population and 20% of the tiger population of India. Many regions of Karnataka are still unexplored and new species of flora and fauna are still found. The Western Ghats mountains in the western region of Karnataka are a biodiversity hotspot. Two sub-clusters of the Western Ghats, Talacauvery and Kudremukh in Karnataka, are in a tentative list of sites that could be designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. The Bandipur and Nagarahole national parks which fall outside these subclusters were included in the Nilgiri biosphere reserve in 1986, a UNESCO designation. Biligiriranga Hills in Karnataka is a place where Eastern Ghats meets Western Ghats. The state bird and state animal of Karnataka are Indian roller and the Indian elephant respectively. The state tree and state flower are sandalwood and lotus respectively. Karnataka is home to 406+ tigers.
The Viverrinae represent the largest subfamily within the Viverridae comprising five genera, which are subdivided into 22 species native to Africa and Southeast Asia. This subfamily was denominated and first described by John Edward Gray in 1864.
Viverra is a mammalian genus that was first nominated and described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758 as comprising several species including the large Indian civet. The genus was subordinated to the viverrid family by John Edward Gray in 1821.
Hukaung Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area in northern Myanmar, covering 17,373.57 km2 (6,707.97 sq mi). It was established in 2004 and extended to its present size in 2010. It was initially gazetted in 2004 with an area of 6,371 km2 (2,460 sq mi) in Tanaing Township and extended to Kamaing, Nayun and Kamti Townships. In elevation, it ranges from 125 to 3,435 m in the Hukawng Valley located in Kachin State and Sagaing Region. It harbours evergreen and mixed deciduous forests.
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