Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Malabar Large-spotted Civet

Viverra civettina
The Malabar Large-spotted Civet is yet another creature endemic to the Western Ghats of India. It is also the rarest of the ones we have learned about so far.

It is estimated that there are less than 250 of these guys left alive, and because the population is fragmented, no single group numbers more than 50. Worse still is that the decline is ongoing, which means the population could be extinct very soon. They were actually thought to be extinct until the early 1990s, when a few were spotted in the wild again. But in the last 20 years sightings have been very few and far between.

Unsurprisingly, we know very little about these Mammals. Their biology and behavior has not been extensively studied. What we do know is that they live a nocturnal lifestyle, and prefer lowland forests in their range.

In the past, the Civets were hunted for their oil, and to keep them away from chickens and other domesticated poultry. Today habitat loss and a fragmented population are their biggest worries. Sadly, they do not live in any protected areas, and unless an urgent conservation plan is put into place they could be gone forever.

IUCN Status : Critically Endangered
Location : India
Size : Body Length around 13in (33cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Carnivora
Family : Viverridae -- Genus : Viverra -- Species : V. civettina
Image :  Kerala Tourism

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