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Page last updated at 13:58 GMT, Tuesday, 27 July 2010 14:58 UK
Rare Otter civet filmed for first time in Borneo
By Matt Walker
Editor, Earth News


Two Otter civets emerge out of the dark (video courtesy of ConCaSa)

An elusive mammal known as an Otter civet has been filmed in the wild for the first time, experts believe.

Conservationists surveying wildlife in the Deramakot Forest Reserve in the state of Sabah, Borneo took video of a pair crossing a road at night.

Otter civets are a type of civet, small primitive long-bodied cat-like mammals.

The announcement follows the rediscovery of the world's rarest otter in Deramakot Forest Reserve by the same scientific survey.

"I guess nobody can say this with 100% certainty, but as far as I know this is the first video ever taken of this species," says Mr Andreas Wilting, leader of the Conservation of Carnivores in Sabah (ConCaSa) project initiated by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) and performed in collaboration with the Sabah Wildlife Department and Sabah Forestry Department.

"I and my colleagues at least have never seen a video before."

An elusive Sunda stink badger is caught on camera out foraging at night

Mr Wilting's team spotted the Otter civets (Cynogale bennettii) along a old logging road, watching as one fed upon an insect.

The Otter civet is thought to be the rarest civet species in southeast Asia.

As part of a two year survey of small carnivore species in the Deramakot Forest Reserve, the ConCaSa survey photographed Otter civets using camera traps on ten occassions.

More surprising, they managed to film the species in the wild on two occasions.

Otter civets are semi-aquatic, living in wet, lowland areas, a habitat that is being destroyed across much of southeast Asia.

Details of the latest finding have been published in the journal Small Carnivore Conservation, a publication of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission.

Rarely seen species

In the same issue, the scientific survey team lists a host of other rarely seen small carnivore species spotted or photographed in the reserve.

Banded civet caught by a camera trap
A Banded civet caught by a camera trap

Of Borneo's eight vivverid species, the researchers recorded six: the Binturong (Arctictis binturong), Malay civet (Viverra tangaunga), Common Palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphro), Small-toothed Palm civet (Arctogalidia trivirgata), Banded civet (Hemigalus derbyanus) and previously mentioned Otter civet.

Other small carnivores caught on camera were the Sunda stink-badger (Mydaus javanensis), and two species of mongoose, the very common Short-tailed mongoose (Herpestes brachyurus) and the Collared mongoose (H. semitorquatus), and all three Bornean otter species, the Smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata), Asian small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus) and the extremely elusive Hairy-nosed otter, considered to be the world's rarest otter.

Yesterday, the ConCaSa project released a photograph showing the rediscovery of the Hairy-nosed otter in Borneo by the same scientific survey.

Earlier this year, the same project released the first video to be made public of a wild Sundaland clouded leopard.

Many of these species are classified as globally endangered, threatened or vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).


Further steps to protect Bornean otters and other carnivores will be developed at the Borneo Carnivore Symposium, which will be held in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia in June 2011.

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