Martes gwatkinsii


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Martes gwatkinsii
Species Authority: Horsfield, 1851
Common Name(s):
English Nilgiri Marten
French Martre De L'Inde Du Sud
Taxonomic Notes: This species has been sometimes been included in Martes flavigula (Corbet 1978, Honacki et al. 1982, Corbet and Hill 1992), but has been separated as a valid taxon by other authors (Bonhote 1901; Pocock 1936, 1941; Ellerman and Morrison-Scott 1951; Anderson 1970; Rozhnov 1995). A revision of taxonomy is required (Wozencraft 2005).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(iii,iv) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Choudhury, A., Wozencraft, C., Muddapa, D. & Yonzon, P.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W. (Small Carnivore Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
This species is listed as Vulnerable because its entire extent of occurrence is less than 20,000 km², its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its forest habitat in the six discontinuous national parks where is occurs. In addition, remaining populations are severely fragmented due to a continuing decline in the extent and quality of habitat.
2000 Vulnerable
1996 Vulnerable (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Vulnerable (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Indeterminate (IUCN 1990)
1988 Indeterminate (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The nilgiri marten is endemic to the Western Ghats of India (Balakrishnan 2005). The species is habitat specific and localized within its distribution. This species has been recorded across a wide range of elevations from 300 to 1,400 m with an average of around 990 m for preferred habitat (Mudappa 1999; Balakrishnan 2005). Most of the records known for this species are from protected areas (Muddapa pers. comm.).
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population trend for the nilgiri marten is unknown, but it is thought to naturally occur at low densities, or indeed lower densities than the closely related yellow throated marten (Duckworth pers. comm.). This species was considered rare by Pocock (1941), but more recently was seen regularly (12 sightings) in Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR) in India between May 1996 and December 1999 (Mudappa 2002).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The nilgiri marten has been reported from moist tropical rainforests (Mudappa 1999), montane evergreen forests (Yoganand and Kumar 1999), and moist deciduous forests adjoining wet evergreen forests (J. Joshua pers. comm.), as well as somealtered habitats such as coffee and cardamom plantations (Schreiber et al. 1989) and acacia plantations (Yoganand and Kumar 1999). The majority of sightings have come from areas with little canopy and sub-canopy cover, far from human paths and in relative proximity to water (Balakrishnan 2005).

This species is partly frugivorous and insectivorous (Balakrishnan 2005), but will prey opportunistically on almost any small bird or mammal (Pocock 1941), including Indian chevrotain and monitor lizards (Varanus bengalensis; Mudappa 1999), mouse deer (Moschiola memmina; Mudappa 2002), and it occasionally even feeds on nectar (Hutton, 1944).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The nilgiri marten is threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation throughout its area of occupancy. These threats, as well as hunting, are all detrimental to this species, especially in the lower altitudes of its range (Balakrishnan 2005).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The nilgiri marten is listed in Schedule II part II of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and Appendix III of CITES (India).

This species occurs in several protected areas. Some of these include Rajamala Eravikulam National Park (Madhusudan 1995), Mukkurthi National Park (Yoganand and Kumar 1995, 1999), Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary and Silent Valley National Park (Christopher and Jayson 1996), Sholayar (Vijayan 1979), Upper Bhavani (Gokula and Ramachandran 1996), Brahmagiri (Schreiber et al. 1989), Kalakkadu-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (Mudappa, 2001), Periyar Tiger Reserve (Kurup and Joseph, 2001), and Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (Balakrishnan, 2005). It was also sighted in Silent Valley National Park, Attappadi Reserve Forest, Muthikkulam South Reserve Forest, and Nilambur South Reserve Forest by Balakrishnan (2005).

Schreiber et al. (1989) recommended field surveys to locate remaining populations and determine if existing reserves give adequate protection. Accordingly, a systematic survey has been conducted following the recommendation of the action plan. Although poaching incidents are not frequent in protected areas, measures to regulate hunting outside of these areas are ineffective, especially in lowland forests (Balakrishnan 2005). There is a need for more survey work, and more protected areas, especially in the lower altitudes of its range, and in particular the forests contiguous to Silent Valley National Park (Balakrishnan 2005).

Bibliography [top]

Balakrishnan, P. 2005. Recent sightings and habitat characteristics of the endemic Nilgiri Marten Martes gwatkinsii in Western Ghats, India. Small Carnivore Conservation 33: 14-16.

Christopher, G. and Jayson, E. A. 1996. Sightings of Nilgiri marten (Martes gwatkinsi Horsfield) at Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary and Silent Valley National Park, India. Small Carnivore Conservation 15: 3-4.

Corbet, G. B. 1978. The Mammals of the Palaearctic Region: a Taxonomic Review. British Museum (Natural History) and Cornell University Press, London, UK and Ithaca, NY, USA.

Corbet, G.B. and Hill, J.E. 1992. Mammals of the Indo-Malayan Region: A Systematic Review. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Ellerman, J. R. and Morrison-Scott, T. C. S. 1951. Checklist of Palaearctic and Indian Mammals 1758 to 1946. British Museum (Natural History), London, UK.

Honacki, J. H., Kinman, K. E. and Koeppl, J. W. 1982. Mammal species of the world: A taxonomic and geographic reference. Allen Press.

Kurup, D. N. and Joseph, G. K. 2001. Certain observations on the bahaviour of the Nilgiri marten (Martes gwatkinki) in Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kerala, India. Small Carnivore Conservation 25: 1-2.

Madhusudan, M. D. 1995. Sightings of the Nilgiri marten (Martes gwatkinsi) at Eravikulam National Park, Kerala, India. Small Carnivore Conservation 13: 6-7.

Mudappa, D. 2002. Observations of small carnivores in the Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Western Ghats, India. Small Carnivore Conservation 27: 4-5.

Pocock, R. I. 1941. The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Taylor & Francis, Ltd., London, UK.

Ruzhnov, V. V. 1995. Taxonomic notes on the yellow-throated marten Martes flavigula. Zoologicheskii Zhurnal 74: 131-138.

Schreiber, A., Wirth, R., Riffel, M. and Van Rompaey, H. 1989. Weasels, civets, mongooses, and their relatives. An Action Plan for the conservation of mustelids and viverrids. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Wozencraft, W.C. 2005. Order Carnivora. In: D.E. Wilson and D.M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World: A taxonomic and geographic reference. Third Edition, pp. 532-628. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Yoganand, T. R. K. and Kumar, A. 1995. The distributions of small carnivores in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, southern India: A prelminary report. Small Carnivore Conservation 13: 1-2.

Citation: Choudhury, A., Wozencraft, C., Muddapa, D. & Yonzon, P. 2008. Martes gwatkinsii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 22 December 2014.
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