The Small Indian Civet

Equipment Info
9965784/1000000 sec. / ISO 250
Nearest Area
Small Indian Civet (Viverricula indica) is widely used, for various reasons. There has been heavy harvest for skins in China and probably to some extent elsewhere. For the production of its perineal gland secretion, 'civet' musk, a raw ingredient in the perfume, medicine and other industries, large numbers are kept in India and, increasingly, Thailand; these are sourced almost entirely from the wild . It is the second most commonly traded civet in Java, Indonesia, where there is a current craze for keeping civets at pets, with the mushrooming of civet-'lovers' clubs; numbers in this trade are however dwarfed by those of Common Palm Civet, with almost 20 times as many of the latter seen . While hunting (including the use of traps for civets) seems to be rare in some of its range, such as Java , a large part of its range - North-east India, southern China and northern South-east Asia - has heavy to very heavy mammal hunting using, in great part, non-selective techniques such as snaring, for domestic consumption and, in many areas, sale into the urban and international wildlife trade. In the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh, local people kill Small Indian Civets (for meat consumption) with poison. The demand for civet meat in Chinese and Viet Namese markets has increased rapidly since the 1980s and remains high. This species is perhaps somewhat insulated from the heaviest pressures because such activities are mostly within closed evergreen forest, only a marginal habitat of this species. On the other hand, its use of marginal and degraded habitats means it might suffer more than do the more closed-forest associated small carnivores from retaliatory killing , secondary accumulation of rodenticides (heavily used in some parts of its range) and killing by domestic dogs. It is reasonably clear that, in aggregate, these threats are not causing steep declines in India, Myanmar and southern China where it remains common even though most other small carnivores are severely depleted the situation is less clear in northern South-east Asia, where hunting is highest, because of the species' limited occurrence in closed evergreen forest, which hosts the majority of wildlife survey and research. It is clearly widespread even in Viet Nam and Lao PDR, but populations there are probably well below what they would be in the absence of hunting. Forest loss and degradation are unlikely to be, overall, a threat to this species; the opening-up of large areas of closed-canopy old-growth evergreen forest in South-east Asia has probably increased the total habitat availability, more than offsetting the losses from conversion of open deciduous forest to habitats supporting lower densities of this species. Its use of agriculture-dominated landscapes, while common, is poorly understood: it is quite plausible that the rapid intensification of field crop systems in Java, Thailand, Vietnam, China and, increasingly, Lao PDR and Cambodia will be reducing habitat suitability over large areas, particularly through loss of uncultivated patches: daytime resting sites in Hlawga Park, Myanmar, were typically at ground level in dense shrubby tangles and such patches are also likely to increase food supply over that in crop monoculture. In sum, while further information would be useful in elaborating the detail of the response to the various potential threats facing this species, its continued abundance in most of its range indicates that it is well able to survive the current levels of threats.
Date Added
February 13, 2018

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