Mydaus javanensis 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Mephitidae

Scientific Name: Mydaus javanensis
Species Authority: (Desmarest, 1820)
Common Name(s):
English Sunda Stink-badger, Indonesian Stink Badger, Malay Badger, Malayan Stink Badger, Sunda Stink Badger
Spanish Lingo
Mephitis javanensis Desmarest, 1820
Taxonomic Notes: For long Mydaus was classified as a genus of Mustelidae. It in fact constitutes the only Old-world genus of the skunk family (Mepihitidae; Dragoo and Honeycutt 1997). Corbet and Hill (1992) queried whether M. marchei of Palawan and some adjacent islands (Philippines) is distinct enough to warrant species-level separation from M. javanensis.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-03-03
Assessor(s): Wilting, A., Duckworth, J.W., Meijaard, E., Ross, J., Hearn, A. & Ario, A.
Reviewer(s): Schipper, J.
Contributor(s): McCarthy, J., Linkie, M., Long, B., Azlan M.J., M. & Hon, J.
Sunda Stink-badger is listed as Least Concern because it is unlikely to meet any of the Red List criteria at levels sufficient for even Near Threatened. It has a large distributional range, occurring on Sumatra, Borneo, Java and the Natuna Islands. It is comparatively frequently camera-trapped over substantial areas of the three major islands, from the lowlands up to 2,000 m asl. On Borneo it seems now to be largely restricted to the northeast, although historically it was recorded from other regions in Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo; see Samejima et al. in prep.). The reasons for the lack of recent records from large parts of Kalimantan are unknown (see Samejima et al. in prep.). However, any potential declines in these areas most probably occurred some decades ago, and not within the last 14 years (or three generations; Pacifici et al. 2013). Records from Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, indicate that this species uses disturbed forests (its occupancy being higher in more disturbed forests than in sustainably managed forests; Sollmann et al. in prep.) and palm oil plantations (A.J. Hearn and J. Ross pers. comm. 2014). This species evidently tolerates, perhaps even benefits from, some forms of habitat disturbance (Samejima et al. in prep.). Thus it is unlikely that it is experiencing major declines from the ongoing deforestation in the region. There is no evidence of its being recently targeted for food or medicine at levels sufficient to drive population declines at a pace to come near to even Near Threatened. Historical accounts, however, indicate that in the Indonesian part of Borneo, the species was frequently sought for food (see Samejima et al. in prep.), and hunting might have been one of the factors contributing to historical declines
Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Least Concern (LC)
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Sunda Stink-badger is found on Java, Kalimantan (Borneo), Sumatra and the Natuna Islands in Indonesia, and in Sabah and Sarawak in Bornean Malaysia. So far there are no confirmed records from Brunei, but parts of the country are predicted to contain habitat suitable for the species (Samejima et al. in prep.). On Borneo it is among the most frequently recorded carnivore species in most camera-trapping studies in the Malaysian State of Sabah (Borneo Carnivore Symposium; Samejima et al. in prep.). It is found from the lowlands in central and eastern Sabah (e.g. Kinabatangan) up to the highlands in western Sabah (e.g. Crocker Range National Park, A. J. Hearn and J. Ross pers. comm. 2014). In Sarawak nearly all the rather few records are from the northeastern part (Limbang and North Miri division); records south of Miri division are very few, and local people often seem unfamiliar with the species (Giman and Jukie 2012, Samejima et al. in prep.). But in 2012, two animals were killed in the Serian district, southwest Sarawak (Samejima et al. in prep.). In Kalimantan this species seems to have been recorded recently only in north and east Kalimantan (e.g., Rustam and Giordano 2014), but it was also at least locally common in south, central and west Kalimantan in the beginning of the 20th century (e.g., Lyon 1911). In west Kalimantan a specimen was collected at the Melawi river near Sintang (Medway 1977) and the recently interviewed local people from this area were familiar with this species (Samejima et al. in prep.). In Java all known recent records are from west Java, but van Balen (1914) recorded it from the Dieng Plateau in central Java and there are further records from Mt Ardjuna and the Tenger Mountains in east Java (Horsfield 1824, Hassan 1892). In west Java it seems to be common in the remaining forests, with recent records from various sites including Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park, Gunung Halimun Salak NP, Gunung Ciremai NP and Gunung Malabar Protected Forest (A. Ario pers. comm. 2014) at elevations from the lowlands up to 2,000 m asl; its status in non-forest areas is unclear. In Sumatra it has recently been recorded in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park between 600 and 1,100 m asl (J. McCarthy pers. comm. 2014) in the south of the island, up to Aceh (between 870 and 1,740 m asl) in the north (M. Linkie pers. comm. 2014). Further recent records come from Kerinci Seblat NP (Holden 2006, M. Linkie pers. comm. 2014) and the Bukit Tigapuluh Landscape (P.H. Pratje and A.M. Moßbrucker pers. comm. 2014).
Countries occurrence:
Indonesia (Jawa, Kalimantan, Sumatera); Malaysia (Sabah, Sarawak)
Upper elevation limit (metres): 2000
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species occurs in a wide range of vegetation types, including - at least in Sabah, Malaysia - very disturbed areas and plantations. So the population is likely to be relatively unaffected by the large-scale forest conversion in its range. It is currently unknown why this species was reported as common in various parts of Kalimantan in the early 20th century, yet current records from these areas are lacking. For example, in the 1930s, this species was considered “to have a very wide distribution range, including all wet and dry forests of the area discussed here [southern and southeastern  Borneo]. The density however is low. In eastern Borneo its occurrence was reported only from the area north of Samarinda, and in southern Borneo from only nine locations, which were dispersed and far from each other” (Nederlandsch-Indische Vereeniging tot Natuurbescherming 1939). Its distribution seems to be patchy (Payne et al. 1985). It is conceivable that local extinctions have occurred, perhaps through hunting. The overall population of the species is plausibly rather stable, given its high adaptability to changing habitats, at least over the time frame of three generations.
Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals: No
Population severely fragmented: No
All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Over its range, Sunda Stink-badger is found in primary and secondary forests and open grounds such as gardens adjacent to forests (Payne et al. 1985, Holden 2006). In Sabah it is found in both primary and disturbed forests and from the periphery out to a least four kilometres from the forest edge of oil-palm plantations. It is unknown how far it is able to venture into the plantation landscape. In Sarawak it has been recorded in a pepper garden (Samejima et al. in prep.). It is quite clear that it is not dependent upon primary forest. Camera-trapping at salt-licks in Sabah found it to be a common visitor (Matsubayashi et al. 2006).

This species feeds on birds' eggs, carrion, insects, worms and plants (Long and Killingley 1983, Neal and Cheeseman 1996, Payne et al. 1985). Litter size is usually two to three (Wood 1865). It is nocturnal, sheltering in underground burrows during the day (Hwang and Larivière 2003).

It is currently unknown why the species has such a patchy distribution, especially on Borneo. The species' pattern of occurrence might be linked to earthworm density, soil characters, level of (perhaps mostly past) hunting and/or other factors.
Systems: Terrestrial
Generation Length (years): 4.75
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: On Java, the anal gland secretion is used to make perfume (Long and Killingley 1983). Some rural people eat the flesh of this species (Rustam and Giordano 2014). Banks (1931) noted that the local people mix the shavings of the skin with water and drink them as a cure for fever or rheumatism.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Habitat loss is unlikely to be a significant threat to Sunda Stink-badger, and at least in parts of its range the widespread degradation and fragmentation of forest might be benefiting it, as might conversion of old-growth forest to some other uses. The threat posed by hunting is difficult to assess. It might, perhaps, have led to past declines and local extirpations, but the lack of a large commercial demand for it today and its persistence in many areas close to people suggests that hunting is not presently a threat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Sunda Stink-badger has been recorded in various protected areas in Borneo (particularly the northern half), Sumatra and Java, and is likely to occur in many more. It is not protected in Sarawak, but it is protected in Sabah (Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1998) and in Indonesia (PP RI No. 7, 1999).With no threats identified or suggested, a continued wide distribution and high frequency of records, there are no obvious conservation needs for this species. Continued coarse monitoring of its status might be useful.

Citation: Wilting, A., Duckworth, J.W., Meijaard, E., Ross, J., Hearn, A. & Ario, A. 2015. Mydaus javanensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T41628A45209955. . Downloaded on 30 November 2015.
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