Fossa fossana 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Eupleridae

Scientific Name: Fossa fossana
Species Authority: (P.L.S. Müller, 1776)
Common Name(s):
English Spotted Fanaloka, Fanaloka, Malagasy Civet
French Civette Fossane, Civette Malgache, Fossane
Spanish Cibeta de Madagascar
Viverra fossa Schreber, 1777

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A3cde+4cde ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-03-02
Assessor(s): Hawkins, F.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W.
Contributor(s): Golden, C., Farris, Z.J., Jenkins, R.K.B. & Jones, J.P.G.
Spotted Fanaloka is listed as Vulnerable because it is likely that over the course of the next three generations (taken as 22 years), the population will drop by more than 30% (and possibly much more) mainly because of widespread habitat loss, hunting, persecution, and the effects of introduced carnivores. The rates of habitat loss and hunting have recently increased significantly because of breakdown of governance since the coup d'etat in 2009, leading to increased artisanal mining in forest areas, increased hunting, and increased opportunistic rosewood cutting throughout the species' range.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Near Threatened (NT)
2000 Vulnerable (VU)
1996 Vulnerable (VU)
1994 Vulnerable (V)
1990 Vulnerable (V)
1988 Vulnerable (V)
1986 Insufficiently Known (K)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Spotted Fanaloka is endemic to the eastern forests of Madagascar and the Sambirano region in the island's north-west (Kerridge et al. 2003). It is present as far north as Montagne d'Ambre National Park and as far south as Andohahela National Park in the south-east. Strongholds include the Masoala Peninsula, rainforests at Mananara, Ambatovaky and Zahamena, and the Andohahela forest region. The altitudinal range is sea level to at least 1,600 m, but the species seems to be much scarcer above 1,000 m (Goodman 2012).
Countries occurrence:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Continuing decline in number of locations: Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Upper elevation limit (metres): 1600
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Kerridge et al. (2003) trapped 22 individuals in two weeks in a 2 km² area near Vevembe, indicating that the density of the species can be high in favoured habitat. Around Ranomafana National Park, Gerber et al. (2012) found that Spotted Fanaloka occurred at lower density (1.38 ± SE 0.22 individuals per km²) in logged forest than in unlogged (3.19 ± SE 0.55) and it was absent from forest fragments over 2.5 km from intact forest.

In north-east Madagascar, camera-trap surveys (Farris et al. in review a, Z. Farris pers. comm. 2014) revealed a high probability of occupancy of 0.70 (SE ± 0.07) across the Masoala-Makira landscape, the highest of any native carnivore. However, Spotted Fanaloka probability of occupancy (defined as the probability that a site/forest is occupied by the species of interest while taking into account the variation in detectability of the species across the various sites) was significantly higher in non-degraded forest (0.73 ± SE 0.08) than in degraded forest (0.50 ± SE 0.08). Spotted Fanaloka was not detected in forest fragments 5 km or more from contiguous forests (Farris and Kelly 2011, Farris et al. in review a). Spotted Fanaloka is constrained by the presence of both exotic feral/wild cats (Felis spp.) and exotic Small Indian Civets (Viverricula indica) (Gerber et al. 2012, Farris et al. in review a). Photographic surveys over a six-year period (2008-2013) and resulting multi-season occupancy analyses at one contiguous forest site showed that Spotted Fanaloka occupancy decreased from 1.0 (2008) to 0.80 (2013) (trap success decreased from 14.0 in 2008 to 3.59 in 2013) which resulted in a moderate probability of local extirpation of 0.14 (0.05), while at another survey site trap success changed only from 5.04 in 2011 to 4.46 in 2013 (Z. Farris pers. comm. 2014).
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This nocturnal and terrestrial species is found in humid tropical lowland, mid-altitude and littoral forests, and is sometimes associated with streams or marshy areas in these habitats; it seems not to adapt to secondary habitats (Kerridge et al. 2003).

There is a lower probability of occupancy and significantly lower encounter rate in degraded forest sites than in intact ones. Further, there is a negative association with proximity to villages (Farris and Kelly 2011, Farris et al. 2012, Farris et al. in review a).

Spotted Fanaloka is almost exclusively solitary; however, an adult and juvenile were photographed travelling together in March. Camera-trapping revealed Spotted Fanaloka to be nocturnal, with a few records of daylight activity. Spotted Fanaloka shifts peak activity from cool season to hot season, but this might have resulted from increased human and dog activity (Farris et al. in review b).

During the daytime, animals shelter in hollow trees, under fallen logs, or amongst rocks. The gestation period is around 82-89 days (Albignac 1973). Young are born well developed, and sexual maturity is attained at about two years of age.
Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 7.6

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The species is known to be hunted for food (see Threats section for more information).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Being rather constrained to primary forest  and absent from forest fragments (Gerber et al. 2012), Spotted Fanaloka is threatened by deforestation for cultivated land, and by forest degradation through selective logging and charcoal production. It is also threatened by hunting; its taste is the most preferred among the native carnivores (Golden 2005). Introduced species including dogs, cats, and the Small Indian Civet (Viverricula indica) are competitors, and dogs are also likely to be predators.

Deforestation and forest disturbance across the range of Spotted Fanaloka has increased significantly since 2009. R. Rajaonson (pers. comm. 2014) estimates that deforestation in eastern forest increased from 0.5% per annum in 2005-2010 to 0.94% per annum in 2010-2013. Allnut et al. (2009) estimated that in Masoala National Park, annual rates of deforestation in the study area increased to 1.27% per annum in 2011. High levels of illegal settlement in protected areas, especially around the Bay of Antongil, are linked to artisanal mining (for quartz) and logging of rosewood; hunting for food using dogs has increased greatly in these areas as a result. Some villages have seen increases in populations of between 200 and 300% (C. Golden pers. comm. 2014).

Household interviews conducted by Madagasikara Voakajy (pers. comm. 2014) in the Moramanga region of eastern Madagascar in 2008-2009 suggested that 513 (31%) of 1,635 respondents interviewed in 129 villages had eaten Spotted Fanaloka in the preceding year. This is the highest rate among all the local endemic carnivores. By contrast, in Makira, hunting, including for food, appears to be less of a concern for Spotted Fanaloka than for other carnivores across the Makira landscape. Only 11 were reportedly consumed in household surveys within four villages (143 households were surveyed) from 2005 to 2011 near the Makira Natural Park. However, hunting rates were still positively associated with Spotted Fanaloka occupancy, demonstrating increased efforts in non-degraded forest where its abundance/activity is highest (Farris et al. in review a).

Spotted Fanaloka appears to alter its temporal activity when human and dog activity are very high. It has strong temporal overlap with Small Indian Civet, revealing the potential for increased interactions and competition (Farris et al. in review b).

Single-season landscape occupancy analyses showed that Spotted Fanaloka probability of occupancy decreases dramatically when feral cat and Small Indian Civet were present (Farris et al. in review a).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Spotted Fanaloka is listed on Appendix II of CITES. It inhabits a number of protected areas, including Montagne d’Ambre, Masoala, Marojejy, Zahamena, Ranomafana and Andohahela National Parks, and Ankarana Special Reserve.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable  
1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability: Suitable  
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
suitability: Suitable  
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.1. Shifting agriculture
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity: Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score: Medium Impact: 6 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity: Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score: Medium Impact: 6 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity: Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score: Medium Impact: 6 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

8. Invasive & other problematic species & genes -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species -> 8.1.2. Named species (Viverricula indica)
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity: Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score: Medium Impact: 6 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.2. Competition

8. Invasive & other problematic species & genes -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species -> 8.1.2. Named species (Felis catus)
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity: Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score: Medium Impact: 6 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.2. Competition

8. Invasive & other problematic species & genes -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species -> 8.1.2. Named species (Canis familiaris)
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity: Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score: Medium Impact: 6 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.2. Competition

3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Albignac, R. 1972. The carnivora of Madagascar. In: R. Battistini and G. Richard-Vindard (eds), Biogeography and ecology in Madagascar, pp. 667-682. W. Junk, The Hague.

Albignac, R. 1973. Mammiferes carnivores. Faune de Madagascar. ORSTOM/CNRS, Paris, France.

Allnut, T.F., Asner, G.P., Golden, C.D. and Powell, G.V.N. 2013. Mapping recent deforestation and disturbance in northeastern Madagascar. Tropical Conservation Science 6: 1-15.

Farris Z.J. and Kelly, M.J. 2011. A preliminary assessment of carnivores across the Makira Protected Area, Madagascar: results from a WCS pilot camera study. Wildlife Conservation Society, Antananarivo, Madagascar.

Farris, Z.J., Gerber, B., Kelly, M.J., Karpanty, S., Murphy, F. and Andrianjakarivelo, V. in review b. When the carnivores roam: temporal patterns and partitioning among Madagascar’s native and exotic carnivores.

Farris, Z.J., Golden, C., Karpanty, S., Murphy, A., Stauffer, D., Andrianjakarivelo, V., Ratelolahy, F., Holmes, C. and Kelly, M.J. in review a. Effects of poaching, micro-habitat and landscape variables, human encroachment, and exotic species on Madagascar’s endemic and exotic carnivore community across the Masoala-Makira landscape.

Farris Z.J., Kelly M., Karpanty S.M., Ratelolahy F., Andrianjakarivelo V. and Holmes C. 2012. Brown-tailed Vontsira Salanoia concolor (Eupleridae) documented in Makira Natural Park, Madagascar: new insights on distribution and camera-trap success. Small Carnivore Conservation 47: 82–86.

Garbutt, N. 1999. Mammals of Madagascar. Pica Press, East Sussex, UK.

Gerber, B.D., Karpanty, S.M. and Randrianantenaina, J. 2012. The impact of forest logging and fragmentation on carnivore species composition, density and occupancy in Madagascar's rainforests. Oryx 46: 414-422.

Goodman, S. 2012. Les Carnivora de Madagascar. Association Vahatra, Antananarivo, Madagascar.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Kerridge, F.J., Ralisoamalala, R.C., Goodman, S.M. and Pasnick, S.D. 2003. Fossa fossana, Malagasy Striped Civet, Fanaloka. In: S.M. Goodman and J.P. Benstead (eds), The Natural History of Madagascar, pp. 1363-1365. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA and London, UK.

Pacifici, M., Santini, L., Di Marco, M., Baisero, D., Francucci, L., Grottolo Marasini, G., Visconti, P. and Rondinini, C. 2013. Generation length for mammals. Nature Conservation 5: 87–94.

Perschke, M. 1996. Mongooses in the Tsimbazaza Zoo and the Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. Small Carnivore Conservation 14: 1.

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.

Citation: Hawkins, F. 2015. Fossa fossana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T8668A45197868. . Downloaded on 26 November 2015.
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