Endangered civets spotted in central Vietnam
(VNF) - The large-spotted civet species recently discovered in the Phong Dien Nature Reserve in Hue city was previously considered to be extinct in Vietnam and China by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Camera traps have been used to capture images of the rare and elusive carnivores.
The civet is one of nine rare species found using camera traps set up by the nature reserve and the Viet Nature Conservation Center, according to a joint statement released recently.
The species are all named on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species.
The Owston’s Civet spotted during the surveys. (Photo from Phong Dien Nature Reserve)
Another rare civet, the Owston’s civet, was also spotted during the surveys. This species was discovered for the first time in Thua Thien-Hue last year.
“The records of these two extremely rare civets in Phong Dien are very important for conservation research and planning in the area. It indicates that hunting and trapping activities are relatively less rampant in Phong Dien than in many other sites in North Central Vietnam,” said Le Trong Trai, director of the Viet Nature Conservation Centre.
The large-spotted civet and Owston’s civet were both recategorized on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species from Vulnerable to Endangered in June this year. Endangered is the second-highest category of threat on the Red List, and of the approximately 170 species of small carnivores worldwide, only 10 others are ranked as Endangered or in the higher category of Critically Endangered, according to J. W. Duckworth, IUCN SSC Small Carnivore Red List Authority Coordinator.
According to IUCN, Roberton (2007) traced only nine confirmed records from Vietnam, two of which were since 1990. Willcox et al. (2012) looked at camera-trap records from across Vietnam and found only two records: U Minh Thuong National Park (Nguyen et al. 2004) and Yok Don National Park (Eames et al. 2004).
Subsequent small carnivore-focused surveys in the U Minh Melalueca-dominated wetlands failed to record the species, as have similar surveys in lowland habitats e.g. the Ke Go-Khe Net Lowlands and Cat Tien National Park.
Large-spotted Civetsare is very rare in Vietnam and probably very close to national extinction, according to IUCN./.