Herpestes ichneumon 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Herpestidae

Scientific Name: Herpestes ichneumon (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Egyptian Mongoose, Large Grey Mongoose
French Mangouste d'Egypte, Mangouste ichneumon
Spanish Meloncillo
Viverra ichneumon Linnaeus, 1758

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-02-27
Assessor(s): Do Linh San, E., Maddock, A.H., Gaubert, P. & Palomares, F.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W. & Hoffmann, M.
Contributor(s): Cavallini, P., Carvalho, F. & Pacifici, M.
Listed as Least Concern as the species is widespread, common in at least part of its range, and present in many protected areas. There appear to have been some range and population increases in Europe in recent years, but these may be because of better observation and documentation.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is found mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal and Gambia to East Africa, then southwards in Angola, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. It is present in Gabon only in the south, but Bahaa-el-din et al. (2013) recently recorded the species 105 km north of its previously known range. It is absent from much of southern Africa, but present in north-east Namibia, northern Botswana, northern and eastern Zimbabwe and all along the South African coastline (Palomares 2013). In North Africa, it ranges in a narrow coastal strip from Western Sahara to Tunisia, and also from northern and eastern Egypt southwards to Ethiopia (Palomares 2013). It has been reported to 3,000 m a.s.l. in the Ethiopian highlands (Yalden et al. 1996). This species has not been introduced to Madagascar (Goodman 2012), contrary to what may have been suggested in some sources (e.g., Haltenorth and Diller 1980).

Extralimitally to the African mainland, this species is also found from the Sinai Peninsula to the south of Turkey (Delibes 1999), and on the Iberian Peninsula in southern and central Portugal (Borralho et al. 1995) and south-western Spain (Delibes 1999). At the beginning of the 20th century, some records originated from the north-western part of the Iberian Peninsula (Delibes 1999). An individual was also recorded near Leon (Castile and Leon, Spain; Palacios et al. 1992). The Egyptian Mongoose was initially believed to have been introduced by humans into Europe, based on zoogeographical considerations (Delibes 1999) and on the grounds that the species is absent from the European fossil record, although late Pleistocene and Holocene fossils are known from North Africa (Dobson 1998). However, a recent molecular and phylogeographic study rather supported a scenario of sweepstake dispersal across the strait of Gibraltar during Late Pleistocene sea-level fluctuations, followed by long-term in situ evolution throughout the last glaciation cycles (Gaubert et al. 2011).
Countries occurrence:
Algeria; Angola; Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Egypt; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Israel; Jordan; Kenya; Lebanon; Liberia; Libya; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Morocco; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Portugal; Rwanda; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Somalia; South Africa; Spain (Spain (mainland)); Sudan; Syrian Arab Republic; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Tunisia; Turkey; Uganda; Western Sahara; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):3000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:On the African mainland, this species is widespread and locally common (Palomares 2013). Densities ranging from 0.1 (East Africa: Hendrichs 1972) to 1.2 individuals/km² (South Africa: Maddock 1988; southern Spain: Delibes 1999) have been recorded. In Europe numbers and range have increased in the last 35 years, in both Portugal and Spain, due to the reduction of its natural predators (Delibes 1999) and/or land-use and climate changes (Barros et al. 2015).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Mainly associated with habitats having understorey vegetation in coastal, lacustrine and riparian (streams, rivers, marsh, swamps) habitats (Palomares 2013). This species avoids humid forests and extreme deserts (Delibes 1999; Palomares 2013), except in DR Congo where a large series of records originate from rainforest (P. Gaubert pers. obs. 2001–2005). In tropical Africa, the Egyptian Mongoose occurs where there are termitaries, which Kingdon (1977) suggested could satisfy a need for secure shelter. In Europe, it is found in Mediterranean maquis, with a clear preference for humid and riparian habitats (Delibes 1999). Egyptian Mongooses have home ranges of about 3 km², and are diurnal and omnivorous (Delibes 1999).
Generation Length (years):4

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats to this species across its range, although in parts of its range it may be at risk from more localised threats. On the Iberian Peninsula, incidental and deliberate poisoning (e.g. by rodenticides) is a localised threat (F. Carvalho pers. comm. 2016). In Portugal stand hunting and hunting with dogs (flushing and inside burrows) are legal and can be practiced from October to February (F. Carvalho pers. comm. 2016). In addition, hunters may ask and obtain an exceptional authorization to trap and kill Egyptian mongooses between March and May (F. Carvalho pers. comm. 2016). In Spain, H. ichneumon is considered a pest by hunters, because of its presumed impact on small game species (Delibes 1999). In North Africa, this species is often protected by local people because it is valued as a predator of snakes (F. Cuzin and K. de Smet pers. comm. 2007).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Listed on Appendix III of the Bern Convention, and Annex V of the EU Habitats and Species Directive (Delibes 1999). This species is present in many protected areas across its range.

Citation: Do Linh San, E., Maddock, A.H., Gaubert, P. & Palomares, F. 2016. Herpestes ichneumon. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41613A45207211. . Downloaded on 26 September 2018.
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