Genetta abyssinica 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Viverridae

Scientific Name: Genetta abyssinica (Rüppell, 1836)
Common Name(s):
English Ethiopian Genet, Abyssinian Genet
French Genette d'Abyssinie

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-02-26
Assessor(s): Gaubert, P., Duckworth, J.W. & Do Linh San, E.
Reviewer(s): Hoffmann, M.
Contributor(s): Hoffmann, M.
Listed as Data Deficient because there is little current information on the population status and trends of this species, its exact distribution, or possible threats. Although the species has been previously collected or sighted in various habitats and over a wide altitudinal range within its estimated large distribution (ca 500,000 km²), some reports indicated that it is very uncommon or even rare. Of several faunal studies in the core range of this species (Ethiopia) over the past two decades, perhaps only one recorded this species. Other sightings or other forms of records might exist but have not been reported, or individuals might have been misidentified as other species, notably Common Genet (Genetta genetta). The species could warrant listing as Least Concern if it is indeed more abundant than currently known. Conversely, Ethiopian Genet might be widespread but extremely rare, naturally highly localised, or restricted to specific habitat 'pockets' or 'refugia' which have not yet been affected by some potentially expanding threat(s). Surveys are urgently needed to clearly establish the distribution, abundance, possible (micro-)habitat preferences and threats to this species.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Patchily recorded in Ethiopia, northern Somalia, Eritrea, Djibouti and south-eastern Sudan (Yalden et al. 1996, Gaubert 2013, A. Ferguson pers. comm. 2016). It has an estimated range of ca 500,000 km2. Diaz Behrens and Van Rompaey (2002) convincingly documented the presence of the species up to 3,750 m a.s.l. in the Abune Yosef massif, in Ethiopia. It occurs down to sea-level (Yalden et al. 1996).
Countries occurrence:
Djibouti; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Somalia; Sudan
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):UnknownEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):Unknown
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:Unknown
Upper elevation limit (metres):3750
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


The current population status is not known, but the species is evidently rare (Gaubert 2013). Yalden et al. (1996) considered it very uncommon. Known from fewer than 20 museum specimens, a small number of direct observations (Diaz Behrens and Van Rompaey 2002) and some skins in village possession (Diaz Behrens and Van Rompaey 2002) and sold in markets (P. Gaubert pers. obs. 2003–2004).

Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:UnknownPopulation severely fragmented:Unknown
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:UnknownAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Although the habitat requirements of this species are not well known, it appears to have a wide altitudinal and ecological range, from coastal plains and open dry lowlands to montane heather moorlands and Afroalpine grasslands (Gaubert 2013). Diaz Behrens and Van Rompaey (2002) provide records of this species in montane dry forest where dominant species include Tree Heath (Erica arborea), Curry Bush (Hypericum revolutum) and Abyssinian Rose (Rosa abyssinica). Haltenorth and Diller (1980) stated that the Ethiopian Genet is sometimes found near urban areas, but the original basis for this statement was not given, and it could be because of confusion with Common Genet (Genetta genetta) and/or wrong assumptions from market sellers.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):4

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There are records of Ethiopian Genet skins sold on Addis Abeba market before the Second World War (unknown use; P. Gaubert pers. obs. 2003–2004). It is unknown whether Ethiopian Genets are currently killed and their skins sold on markets.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Some Ethiopian Genet skins bought in Addis Abeba markets before the 1970s are kept in the Berlin Museum. It is unknown whether this species's skins are still sold in current days, and if so, volumes and geographic spread of trade would be equally unknown. Felling and cultivation in Acacia woodland and thornbush, together with pressures of herds of domestic stock in both arid lowlands and high plateaux, occur in Ethiopia (Yalden et al. 1996) and might—depending on its precise habitat use—threaten this species. The species’s natural history is too poorly known to identify which other potential threats are likely to affect it.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

In Ethiopia, the Abune Yosef massif lies within a proposed biosphere reserve (Saavedra 2009). It has been suggested that only three National Parks are likely to support populations of the Ethiopian Genet: Yangudi-Rassa, Awash and Simien Mountains (Gaubert 2013), although the species’s natural history is too poorly known for a high confidence in this assessment. There is an urgent need for further survey work to generate a better understanding of the distribution, habitat requirements and population status of, and threats to, the species, so that its conservation needs, if any, can be determined.

Citation: Gaubert, P., Duckworth, J.W. & Do Linh San, E. 2016. Genetta abyssinica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T8994A45198149. . Downloaded on 21 May 2018.
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