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Melogale orientalis 

Scope:Global
Status_ne_offStatus_dd_offStatus_lc_onStatus_nt_offStatus_vu_offStatus_en_offStatus_cr_offStatus_ew_offStatus_ex_off

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Mustelidae

Scientific Name: Melogale orientalis
Species Authority: (Horsfield, 1821)
Common Name(s):
English Javan Ferret Badger, Javan Ferret-badger
Synonym(s):
Melogale personata ssp. orientalis (Horsfield, 1821)
Taxonomic Notes: Usually Melogale orientalis has been recognised as a separate species (Pocock 1941, Riffel 1991, Corbet and Hill 1992, Wozencraft 2005), but sometimes it is considered as a subspecies of Large-toothed Ferret Badger M. personata (e.g., Long 1992). Because of the morphological similarities between all Melogale species and because no thorough taxonomic study has been done on this genus, further research on the systematics of this genus is necessary (Long 1992).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-03-03
Assessor(s): Duckworth, J.W., Shepherd, C., Rode-Margono, E.J., Wilianto, E., Spaan, D. & Abramov, A.V.
Reviewer(s): Schipper, J.
Contributor(s): Brickle, N. & Wibisono, H.
Justification:
Javan Ferret Badger is listed as Least Concern because, with evidence of use of agricultural landscapes far from extensive old-growth forest, it is likely to have a total population too large to warrant categorisation even as Near Threatened, its range (as Extent of Occurrence), which is probably larger than presently assessed, exceeds the threshold for Near Threatened, and there is no plausible threat that could be driving declines approaching 20-25% (for Near Threatened) per three generations (taken as 18 years). If further information shows that this species is in fact forest dependent and/or it becomes a popular pet, then this assessment warrants review.
Previously published Red List assessments:
  • 2008 – Data Deficient (DD)
  • 1996 – Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
  • 1996 – Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
  • 1994 – Insufficiently Known (K)
  • 1990 – Insufficiently Known (K)
  • 1988 – Insufficiently Known (K)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Javan Ferret Badger is confined to Java (where it is known from scattered localities in West, East and Central) and Bali (omitted from the range in most of the standard sources before 1991). Riffel (1991) mapped the locality records then available, such as specimens from Tassikmalaja [=Tasikmalaya], Tjigombong and Buitenzorg [= Bogor] (in the Natural History Museum, London; per A.V. Abramov pers. comm. 2014). Schreiber et al. (1989) marked a locality record without a name (perhaps the Dieng Plateau) in Central Java, but this was not included by Riffel (1991). Recent records confirm its occurrence in Central Java, at the Baturaden-Purwokerto foothills of Gunung Slamet (G. Semiadi pers. comm. 2014) and at Temanggung - Wonosobo (E. Wilianto pers. comm. 2014), and in the adjacent Special Region of Yogyakarta, at Gunung Merapi and at Kulon Progo (Didik Raharyono per E. Wilianto pers. comm. 2014). There are two subspecies: M. o. orientalis in eastern Java, and M. o. sundaicus in western Java (Long 1992); Balinese and Central Javan material seems not to have been identified to subspecies.

Subsequent to Riffel's (1991) map, there are multiple records from West Java, from Cipaganti (Rode-Margono et al. 2014) at 1,350–1,480 m altitude (Spaan et al. 2014); Gunung Halimun Salak National Park (Suyanto 2003, A. Ario pers. comm. 2014); the Cikaniki area of Gunung Halimun Salak NP (Yoneda et al. 1998a), which lies at about 1,000 m (Eaton et al. 2010); Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park, over 1,360–2,230 m (Brickle 2007, Duckworth et al. 2008, Eaton et al. 2010, A. Ario pers. comm. 2014); Gunung Malabar Protected Forest (A. Ario pers. comm. 2014); Gunung Ciremai National Park (A. Ario pers. comm. 2014, E. Wilianto pers. comm. 2014); Gunung Tilu (E. Wilianto pers. comm. 2014); Kareumbi-Masigit Game Reserve (E. Wilianto pers. comm. 2014); Rancamaya Villages - Bogor (E. Wilianto pers. comm. 2014); and Carita (in 1997; J.D. Pilgrim pers comm. 2014); one seen in trade in Jatinegara, Java, reportedly came from Banten province (Mohammad Zulfikar per Erwin Wilianto pers. comm. 2014). There is also one further record from Bali, from Buyan - Tambling (Erwin Wilianto pers. comm. 2014). These records result from incidental observation, not specific search, and in sum therefore suggest that the species is likely to occur at many localities.

The altitudinal range is probably incompletely known but it occurs down to at least 260 m (Bogor specimen in the Natural History Museum, London; per A.V. Abramov pers. comm. 2014) and up to at least 2,230 m (Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park). Most records are from above 800 m but this, at least in part and perhaps entirely, stems from the distribution of remaining native forest: particularly in areas close to large towns, this is mostly in mountains (Smiet 1992), and so this is where most nature observation takes place (E.J. Rode-Margono pers. comm. 2014).
Countries occurrence:
Native:
Indonesia (Bali, Jawa)
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):260
Upper elevation limit (metres):2230
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The abundance of Javan Ferret Badger is essentially unknown. It seems generally distributed along the main tourist trail of Gunung Gede (Duckworth et al. 2008). Although Rode-Margono et al. (2014) had many camera-trap records from Cipaganti, these all came from three stations within 800-1,000 m of each other, so potentially involved only two social units (one of which had at least two animals; together in some images) (E.J. Rode-Margono pers. comm. 2014). Encounter rates with camera-traps are typically lower than for other similar-size species (A. Ario pers. comm. 2014). It is commonly seen at at the Baturaden-Purwokerto foothills of Gunung Slamet (G. Semiadi pers. comm. 2014).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No
All individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The ecology of Javan Ferret Badger is largely unknown, in part because most museum material outside Indonesia is labelled "Java", without providing further information about aspects such as habitat and altitude (Riffel 1991). Recent information suggests wide habitat use. Riffel's (1991) specimen from Bali was found in a matrix of secondary forest and rubber plantation, with human settlements 2 to 3 km distant, suggesting that this species is not reliant on primary forest. This is corroborated by records from Cipaginti, which comprises a mosaic of crop fields, small wood-lots (mostly introduced species) and villages; the nearest patches of remaining native forest are 1-2 km away, and continuous forest cover is about 5 km (Rode-Margono et al. 2014, E.J. Rode-Margono pers. comm. 2014). A number of the recent lowland records are within highly anthropogenic landscapes. There are also records from deep within old-growth evergreen forest (Brickle 2007, Duckworth et al. 2008). Although there insufficient evidence to determine whether populations can persist indefinitely in deforested landscapes far from extensive native vegetation, it is clear that Javan Ferret Badger routinely lives outside native forest.

It is evidently mostly active by night and on the floor (Duckworth et al. 2008) although animals in zoos climb (Riffel 1991). There are several records of more than one (of adult size) in close proximity although what the relationship is of these animals is not clear (Duckworth et al. 2008).
Systems:Terrestrial
Generation Length (years):5.9
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Small numbers are traded in the Javan 'bird' markets (which also deal extensively in mammals) of Jakarta (Riffel 1991, Kim 2012, Shepherd 2012). Trade as a novelty pet appears to be rising, with presence and availability increasing over 2013 and 2014, but volumes in trade and turnover rates in the market remain unstudied (C.R. Shepherd pers. comm. 2015). Some trade is 'on-line'; this is likely to increase demand, with increased access and ease of purchase to buyers (C.R. Shepherd pers. comm. 2015).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Small numbers of Javan Ferret Badgers are traded in the 'bird' markets (which also deal extensively in mammals) of Jakarta; they evidently come from the wild and, while also advertised for sale on the internet, seem still basically to be a novelty pet (Riffel 1991, Kim 2012, Shepherd 2012). E.J. Rode-Margono (pers. comm. 2014), D. Spaan and colleagues undertook 62 market surveys between February 2012 and July 2014, in 15 markets (13 in West Java including Jakarta, two in Bali); they recorded ferret badgers four times at Jatinegara (Jakarta): June 2012, four individuals; January 2014 one; May 2014, four individuals (immatures); June 2014, two dead individuals and one alive. In 2014 they also saw one infant in Garut (West Java). These numbers are very low compared with numbers of civets (Nijman et al. 2014). The species seems in 2014 to be consistently available in markets, whereas five years previously it was unusual to see in trade (C.R. Shephard pers. comm. 2014). The risk of trade rising is increased by the recent formation of 'civet-lovers' clubs (known locally as ‘cinta musang'), which also collect other small carnivores (E. Wilianto pers. comm. 2014). Availability of Javan Ferret Badger on on-line animal trading websites in Indonesia has also increased in recent years: this is likely to increase demand for the species because on-line sites reach a broader consumer audience and allow for ease of purchase (C.R. Shepherd pers. comm. 2015).

Much of the forest habitat of Java has been converted to other uses, particularly agriculture, but this species does not depend upon extensive old-growth forest; it is unclear if it requires any sort of native forest. Domestic dogs are common on Java and represent a potential threat to Javan Ferret Badger, because a high proportion of its range is likely to be within a few kilometers of human settlement. Hunters' dogs are not rare in habitat such as that at Cipaganti (although stray dogs stay in the village); pig hunters go into the field almost every day, with dogs, they train their dogs by letting them hunt squirrels in bushy regrowth of fallows, and they leave dogs at little huts in the fields to chase away pigs by barking at night (E.J. Rode-Margono pers. comm. 2014). These might pose some threat but it is presumably not critical given that ferret badgers continue to use such areas. Hunting levels for small carnivores are much lower on Java than in northern South-east Asia (see Rode-Margono et al. 2014) and while some are doubtless killed (particularly given a recent rise in amateur leisure-seekers firing air-guns at anything they come across (E. Wilianto pers. comm. 2014), it seems unlikely that this would be sufficient to drive declines. Bird trapping is widespread and intensive on Java; trappers opportunistically take any small wildlife that they come across, for sale in the urban pet trade (C.R. Shepherd pers. comm. 2015); indeed the ground traps for birds widely used sometimes catch ferret badgers (E. Wilianto pers. comm. 2014). There is a yet no evidence of targeted harvest of the species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Javan Ferret Badger's use of habitats from the interior of old-growth forest to agricultural landscapes, in an environment of low levels of hunting in the styles which might catch the species, suggest that there are no significant conservation issues for the species at present. However, more information would allow a more confident assessment. The highest priority is probably to monitor market trade levels; fashions for pets can change very quickly (Nekaris et al. 2013) and there is no information from which to speculate on how populations of this species would respond to focussed trade demand. The species occurs in multiple protected areas, potentially many more than those in which it has yet been documented. Javan Ferret Badger is not listed as a protected species in Indonesia. However, according to Indonesian law, species that are not protected may only be traded domestically or internationally following a harvest and export quota system, and because there is no allotted quota for this species, its trade is illegal (Shepherd 2012). Enforcement efforts to counter trade in non-protected species outside the national quota regulations are, however, rarely enforced. Furthermore, enforcement of regulations in the bird markets in Jakarta is also lacking and illegal trade continues on a daily and open basis (Nijman et al. 2014). It is recommended that enforcement efforts are increased in relation to the ongoing illegal trade of this and other species in the bird markets

Citation: Duckworth, J.W., Shepherd, C., Rode-Margono, E.J., Wilianto, E., Spaan, D. & Abramov, A.V. 2016. Melogale orientalis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41697A45218557. . Downloaded on 27 July 2016.
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