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Viverra megaspila 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Viverridae

Scientific Name: Viverra megaspila
Species Authority: Blyth, 1862
Common Name(s):
English Large-spotted Civet
Taxonomic Notes: Malabar Civet Viverra civettina has sometimes been included in this species, but the two are usually recognised as separate species (Pocock 1939, Corbet and Hill 1992), albeit on thin grounds (Nandini and Mudappa 2010).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2cd+3cd+4cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-03-03
Assessor(s): Timmins, R., Duckworth, J.W., WWF-Malaysia, Roberton, S., Gray, T.N.E., Willcox, D.H.A., Chutipong, W. & Long, B.
Reviewer(s): Schipper, J.
Contributor(s): Jennings, A., Kanchanasaka, B., Olsson, A., Than Zaw & Veron, G.
Large-spotted Civet is listed as Endangered because of an ongoing and projected future population decline, of more than 50% over three generations (taken to be 15 years) in the past and the future, inferred from range-wide over-exploitation and habitat destruction, and the interaction between these factors (hunting has more serious effects in fragmented landscapes), coupled with some evidence of range shrinkage (the lack of records from the northern extremity, China, since 1998; and the paucity of post-1990 records in the country elsewhere in its range with the heaviest hunting and habitat conversion, Viet Nam). Its main land-type of occurrence, level lowland, is also the main one sought for conversion to agriculture, infrastructure and settlement, driving therefore much faster declines than are seen in species otherwise similar but which occur widely in hill and mountain forest. In countries other than Cambodia, potentially Myanmar, and perhaps parts of Thailand, it is reduced to small isolated populations, many of which may have poor long-term prospects because suitable habitat is restricted in each area to small peripheral parts. The 2008 assessment, as Vulnerable, stressed the difficulty of determining the population loss rates through habitat and hunting. It noted specifically that "if strong forest protection activities are implemented in Cambodia this [Vulnerable] will need revision. Conversely, this assessment may be overly optimistic ... better data might even indicate EN [Endangered] status". Forest conversion rates in lowland Cambodia have indeed outstripped those predicted at the last assessment, with major incursion into even some formerly flagship protected areas. The regionally strengthening economy suggests that deforestation rates will continue to rise in Cambodia, and the rising level of external investment into Myanmar with the easing of economic sanctions guarantees rapid rates of conversion of level lowlands there (areas which are mostly not so far surveyed for the species). Trade-driven hunting, particularly cable-snaring, which is likely to have caused the declines of a large suite of ground-dwelling mammals in Viet Nam and other range states, is reported to be on the increase in several protected areas in Cambodia. Thus, while information is too imprecise to be sure that the species might not more appropriately be categorised as Vulnerable, Critically Endangered is also a possibility.
Previously published Red List assessments:
  • 2008 – Vulnerable (VU)
  • 1996 – Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Large-spotted Civet has been found in southern China (e.g., Lau et al. 2010), Cambodia (e.g., Holden and Neang 2009, Gray et al. 2010, 2014), Lao PDR (e.g., Duckworth 1997, Austin 1999, Khounboline 2005), Peninsular Malaysia (e.g., Jennings and Veron 2011, Hamirul et al. 2015), Myanmar (e.g., Than Zaw et al. 2008), Thailand (e.g., Lynam et al. 2005, Jenks  et al. 2010, Chutipong et al. 2014) and Viet Nam (e.g., Eames et al. 2004, Nguyen et al. 2004, Roberton 2007). There was considerable confusion during the twentieth century about the southern extent of Large-spotted Civet occurrence, stemming in part from at least one author's treatment of V. megaspila and Malay Civet V. tangalunga as synonymous; Large-spotted Civet's documented range in Peninsular Malaysia is limited to the north-west of the country (Jennings and Veron 2011, Hamirul et al. 2015) and there are no records from Singapore (Chua et al. 2012). 

There are recent (post 1995) records from multiple localities in most range states, except for China, Viet Nam and Malaysia. In China the last record was in 1998 (Wang Ying-xiang pers. comm. 2006); Lau et al. (2010) stated only that it might survive in the country. In Malaysia it has recently been found at only two localities, in the north-west and within the validated former range (Hamirul et al. 2015). In Viet Nam, apparently the only confirmed record since 2003 is of two captives photographed near Takou Nature Reserve (in which they were reportedly captured) in 2010 (D.H.A. Willcox pers. comm. 2014). The distribution in most countries is now patchy, reflecting its habitat use (see 'Habitats and ecology' section) and the heavy conversion of these habitats (see 'Threats' section).

It has been recorded from sea-level to about 800 m a.s.l., although it is very scarce above about 500 m and occurs predominantly below 300 m (see 'Habitats and ecology' section).
Countries occurrence:
Cambodia; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia); Myanmar; Thailand
Possibly extinct:
China; Viet Nam
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme 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):800
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Recent camera-trapping in many areas within Large-spotted Civet's geographic range has greatly clarified its population status. The following comments are made in the light of survey effort in suitable habitat (forested gentle terrain below 300 m, exceptionally to 500 m or more; see 'Habitats and ecology' section) in each country.

Lau et al. (2010) generated no records in extensive surveys across Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan, southern China, and were aware of none this century. It is possible that Large-spotted Civet has been extirpated from China.

Roberton (2007) traced only nine confirmed records from Viet Nam, only two of which were since 1990. Willcox et al. (2012) collated camera-trap records from across Viet Nam and found only two records: U Minh Thuong National Park (Nguyen et al. 2004) and Yok Don National Park (Eames et al. 2004). Subsequent small carnivore-focused surveys in the U Minh Melalueca-dominated wetlands failed to record the species, as have similar surveys in lowland habitats e.g. the Ke Go-Khe Net Lowlands and Cat Tien National Park (Save Viet Nam’s Wildlife pers. comm. 2014). Large-spotted Civet is now evidently very rare in Viet Nam and is probably very close to national extinction if not gone already; most natural lowland habitats in Viet Nam have been converted into agriculture, and what is under protection is known or can be assumed to suffer from intense trade-driven hunting.

In Lao PDR, Duckworth (1994) and Austin (1999) found the species easily in both areas of suitable habitat surveyed with suitable methodology in the early 1990s, Phou Xang He and Xe Pian National Protected Areas. There has been little subsequent survey in habitat potentially suitable for the species since then, with most conservation activity occurring in hilly areas (J.W. Duckworth pers. comm. 2014). Of two incidental records since 2000, one was adjacent to one of the earlier areas, Xe Pian NPA (Duckworth 2008) and one was some distance from other records, on the Nakai plateau; although this animal was seen in trade, it is unlikely it had been brought from afar (Khounboline 2005). Subsequent survey of the plateau by camera-trap (Dersu 2008) and the rounding up of animals isolated by the filling of the Nakai dam (U. Streicher pers. comm. 2010) did not find the species, indicating that it was probably even then extremely rare there. The suitable habitat on the plateau has now been flooded. Intense trade-driven hunting and fragmentation of remaining lowland natural and semi-natural habitat across Lao PDR, in an environment of highly uneven law enforcement, suggests that the Lao population is likely now to be very low. Although many areas of terrain and habitat potentially holding the species remain and have not been appropriately surveyed (see, e.g., SUFORD 2010), these are mostly outside the protected area system and are heavily hunted; the likelihood of Lao PDR still holding a large undiscovered population of Large-spotted Civet is very low (J.W. Duckworth pers. comm. 2014).

A compilation of camera-trap records from 21 survey areas in Thailand found Large-spotted Civet records in nine of them. In most of these areas, however, suitable habitat is of limited extent and is mostly around the margins; populations are likely to be low. Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary stands out as by far the largest area of suitable habitat surveyed; most of the camera-trap stations recording the species anywhere in the country were in this protected area (Chutipong et al. 2014). Away from this single protected areas, populations are likely mostly to be small. Based on habitat and terrain, it is unlikely that any areas holding large populations of the species remain to be discovered in Thailand (Chutipong et al. 2014).

Cambodia is likely to hold the largest population of any range state except perhaps Myanmar. Suitable terrain is widespread. Much of it is still forested, although ongoing clearance imuch of it is still forested rapid. North-east Cambodia, with various protected areas, may be particularly important, notably the protected areas of the 'Eastern Plains Landscape', in particular Mondulkiri Protected Forest (Gray et al. 2010, 2014), as might be the ‘Northern Plains’ west of the Mekong (WCS Cambodia pers. comm. 2014). There are also records from gentle terrain around the Cardamom mountains (Holden and Neang 2009). The country’s population is not secure though and a possible, probably hunting-driven, decline has been noted for Mondulkiri Protected Forest (Gray et al. 2014). Large-spotted Civet was the third most commonly camera-trapped small carnivore species in the northern plains during the 2013–2014 dry season (Ai Suzuki pers. comm. 2014). Hunting, particularly snaring, remains relatively less prevalent in the Northern Plains than in other Cambodian protected areas, particularly those that border Viet Nam, e.g. the Eastern Plains Landscape, which includes Mondulkiri Protected Forest. It is plausible that the country’s most significant and important population is now in the Northern Plains (D.H.A. Willcox pers. comm. 2014).

In Myanmar there are only a few records, from only a few sites (Lynam et al. 2005, Than Zaw et al. 2008). Based on the extent of habitat on suitable terrain, many areas of habitat potentially suitable for Large-spotted Civet, including some large tracts, have not been surveyed by methodology appropriate to find the species (Than Zaw et al. 2008). Generalised trade-driven hunting for ground-dwelling mammals is generally less pervasive than in Vietnam and Lao PDR. In combination, these factors suggest that Myanmar might retain populations comparable to or exceeding those in Cambodia.

There seem to be only two series of recent records from Malaysia: these are from (i) two camera-trap stations in an oil palm plantation, and (ii) a road-kill record, all at the fringes of the Bintang-Hijau Range in the north-west of the country; the region is within the known range as clarified by Jennings and Veron (2011) (Hamirul et al. 2015).

As a ground-dwelling species, Large-spotted Civet is presumably readily snared. Thus, examination of markets is relevant to assessing the status of source populations. Despite the massive levels of non-specific hunting and of civet trade, and the often-taken opportunities to check large numbers of civets in trade, Large-spotted Civet has not recorded in the widespread trade in China (Lau et al. 2010) or Viet Nam, which suggests that the populations are already reduced to overall extremely low levels in these countries (S.I. Roberton, Wang Y.-x., Nguyen X.D. and M.W.N. Lau pers. comm. 2006). Cambodia and Lao PDR both retain extensive (although fast-shrinking) degraded, heavily hunted lowland forest (large areas of Attapu, Salavan and Savannakhet provinces in Lao PDR, and of Kratie, Kompong Thom, and Stung Treng provinces in Cambodia) outside protected areas. The extent to which Large-spotted Civet persists within these non-protected areas is unknown. The insidious hunting throughout these landscapes (despite the occasional persistence of scattered populations of threatened species e.g. Eld’s Deer Rucervus eldii, White-shouldered Ibis Pseudibis davisonii), is likely to have caused declines in Large-spotted Civet as of most ground-dwelling mammals of similar and larger size. In addition, the widespread clearance of lowland forests for industrial agricultural concessions in Cambodia, both within and outside protected areas, will be reducing the extent of available habitat.

Throughout the twentieth century it is safe to infer an enormous decline in the species's global population, particularly in Thailand and Viet Nam, countries with large areas of suitable terrain which, during that century, were extensively converted to agriculture. This process proceeded somewhat later in the relatively smaller areas in Lao PDR. Cambodia has retained such a large proportion of the global total population in part by its large area of suitable terrain, but in particular because of the restraining effect of decades of civil unrest upon large-scale land conversion. With the stability since the late 1990s, such change is now proceeding apace. Similarly, Myanmar is emerging from a long period of international political sanctions that have held back finance for large-scale conversion of potentially suitable agricultural land; such activity is now gathering speed, particularly in the level lowlands (Than Zaw et al. 2008, R.J. Tizard pers. comm. 2014). As well as habitat conversion, trends in hunting are relevant to inferring the population trend of this species. As a mobile (i.e. non-ambush predator) ground-dwelling species, Large-spotted Civet is presumably strongly susceptible to snaring. From the 1990s onwards, snaring levels have risen hugely across Viet Nam, Lao PDR and increasingly elsewhere, such as eastern Cambodia. While large areas of land in many range states have been declared protected areas, in most countries (notably excepting Cambodia) these are somewhat to greatly concentrated in hilly regions inimical to this species. Enforcement of wildlife laws is extremely lax in much of the species's range, and particularly outside high-profile protected areas. Thus, although there is no monitoring programme of this species directly, it is safe to infer from habitat and off-take trends that it has been in steep decline for decades and that this is ongoing.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Several examinations of records over varying geographic scales have concluded that Large-spotted Civet is basically a lowland species, with records over 300 m a.s.l. relatively unusual and almost confined to areas of level or gentle terrain (Duckworth 1997, Lynam et al. 2005, Gray et al. 2010, Jennings and Veron 2011, Chutipong et al. 2014). The species is camera-trapped in large numbers in some areas, without the use of special techniques (Austin 1999, Gray et al. 2010, Jenks et al. 2010, Chutipong et al. 2014); this allows high confidence that the extreme paucity of records from above 600 m and from hilly terrain above 300 m, despite extensive camera-trapping in most range states in such areas, truly reflects a great rarity of Large-spotted Civet at these altitudes. Nonetheless, Large-spotted Civet has occasionally been found much higher. Some such records (e.g. Kon Ka Kinh, Viet Nam; probably within 700-900 m; Le Trong Trai pers. comm. to Lynam et al. 2005) come from areas of mid-altitude plateau terrain, which also support other predominantly lowland species. The highest precise-altitude record is perhaps a camera-trap record in 2010 from interior Khao Yai National Park, Thailand, at 780 m; this area had been heavily camera-trapped over the preceding decade without finding the species and its occurrence so high is evidently exceptional (Chutipong et al. 2014).

Within suitable altitude and terrain, the species has been recorded in a number of different habitats: natural habitats assigned directly by observers include evergreen forest, semi-evergreen forest, mixed deciduous forest, deciduous dipterocarp forest, Melaleuca-dominated swamp-forest, shrubland, wetlands and grassland. There are many records from degraded and edge areas as well as some from well within little-encroached blocks of habitat (Duckworth 1997, Austin 1999, Nguyen et al. 2004, Lynam et al. 2005, Holden and Neang 2009, Jenks et al. 2010, Chutipong et al. 2014). Records from plantations (oil palm, teak and perhaps others) seem to come typically or invariably from close to natural habitat (Chutipong et al. 2014, Hamirul et al. 2015).

Two recent investigations of habitat use, one (Gray et al. 2010) for two parts of Cambodia, the other (Jennings and Veron 2011) across the species's non-Chinese range, assigned habitats from record coordinates and GIS habitat information, rather than directly by the surveyors. Both concluded the species is primarily one of deciduous forest. While there are many records of Large-spotted Civet from deciduous forest, there are also many from evergreen forest (see above) and, considering patterns of camera-trapping across habitats at altitudes below 300-400 m, it is certainly not, across its range, preferentially associated with deciduous forest.

Jennings and Veron (2011) provided no measure of relative survey effort between different habitat types, thus allowing the possibility that patterns of record distribution that they identified reflect patterns of survey distribution as much as or more than of animal distribution. Their habitat information source [Global Land Cover 2000 map for Southeast Asia (; map 6)], was examined independently by J.W. Duckworth and R.J. Tizard (pers. comm. 2010) for areas of southern Lao PDR, Cambodia and adjacent Viet Nam with which they were familiar. Across much of the southern Indochinese lowlands, predominantly deciduous landscapes have strips of semi-evergreen forest along many rivers and patches on hill tops. Many of these were not, on the GLC map, distinguished from the surrounding deciduous matrix. Jennings and Veron's (2011) analysis cannot, therefore, determine the degree of evergreen versus deciduous habitat use in this large three-country area, and it is plausible that similar imprecision is present in the map for other plains biomes with extensive but not total deciduous forest. These evergreen forest patches and strips support some birds typical of evergreen forest and not of deciduous forest J.W. Duckworth and R.J. Tizard pers. comm. 2010); the same may be true of mammals although at least with carnivores this is less readily assessed.

Gray et al. (2010) used an apparently more precise source for habitats, and were able to build in some at least implicit measure of relative effort. It is therefore possible that in these two areas Large-spotted Civet is particularly associated with deciduous forest. However, several lines of evidence suggest that the apparent association may be an artefact if taken to be applicable across the species's range. The primary confounding variable is that terrain types on which deciduous dipterocarp and semi-evergreen forest occur within the Mondulkiri Protected Forest are significantly different. Semi-evergreen forest is primarily associated with rocky hill terrain (albeit at low elevation) in which slope angles and soil characteristics are unlike typical plains level semi-evergreen forest as occurs elsewhere in Cambodia and other parts of the species's range. In Mondulkiri PF, camera-trapping in semi-evergreen forest appears to have been located only in such hilly terrain. Such semi-evergreen forest might be ‘avoided’by Large-spotted Civet as a result of terrain type rather than vegetation type; whereas the deciduous forests in this areas are on gentle terrain as is typically occupied by this civet (R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2014). That there may be significant undetermined factors driving the local-scale distribution of Large-spotted Civet in areas surveyed by Gray et al. (2010) is suggested by the marked paucity of records from Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary compared with Mondulkiri PF. Although the habitats in these two areas are broadly similar, there are noticeable although somewhat subtle differences. Although Phnom Prich WS has a greater proportion of highly deciduous semi-evergreen forest (sometimes called mixed deciduous forest; poorly categorised and delineated on the JICA landcover maps) than does Mondulkiri PF, other differences suggest this factor alone may not be the most significant one in the apparent differences in Viverra civet occurrence data. Phnom Prich WS is on somewhat more rugged terrain than is Mondulkiri PF, especially when the camera-trap regions are compared (in part this may have some correlation with semi-evergreen forest/ highly deciduous semi-evergreen forest presence). Furthermore, deciduous dipterocarp forest differs between the two areas quite substantially: Phnom Prich WS has a much lower proportion of relatively open deciduous dipterocarp forest, and especially open ‘glades’, and a much higher proportion of the deciduous dipterocarp forest has an understorey dominated by small bamboo. Water sources are markedly fewer and more aggregated in Phnom Prich WS. Unless there was some bias in the camera-trapping protocol and camera placement, which is hard to imagine given the large numbers of Large Indian Civet V. zibetha detected, the paucity of Large-spotted Civet records from Phnom Prich WS suggests that the species may be relatively sensitive to further as yet unknown habitat characteristics.

Chutipong et al. (2014) intended also to assess the species's habitat use in Thailand by GIS, but the habitat types generated for the records, when checked by the original surveyors, produced far too many gross errors of classification for the method to be viable; this included the failure to distinguish between evergreen gallery forest and the surrounding extensive grassy deciduous dipterocarp forest, and multiple instances of semi-natural habitats being classed as plantations (W. Chutipong pers. comm. 2014). Instead, R.J. Timmins (pers. comm. 2014), in conjunction with the surveyors, inspected the locations by eye. In Thailand, there is no suggestion of an association with deciduous forest over evergreen. This analysis of Thai records again suggests that the species may have an even more restricted niche than was previously thought. Although there is wide occurrence across Thailand, detection rates, especially the proportions of camera-trap stations with detections, are very low in almost all areas (in eight of the nine sites with detections, fewer than five camera-trap stations found the species). At Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary, the only site with extensive lowland gentle terrain, the species was detected at 41 camera stations. Plotting the locations of all Thai Large-spotted Civet detections on terrain maps placed almost all records unequivocally on gentle terrain, mostly at the edges of protected areas that are centred on hill or mountainous terrain. One of the best examples of this is Khao Yai Natonal Park, which has had some of the most intensive camera-trapping in Thailand, yet Large-spotted Civet has been detected at only three camera-trap stations: two on low elevation, very gentle terrain at the very edge of the park, and a third at 780 m in more rugged terrain amid the main research area in the park with very high levels of camera-trapping in many years: it is clear that Large-spotted Civet does not occur regularly in that sector. Vegetation association in Thailand is less clear, for two main reasons: most low-elevation gentle terrain habitat is significantly degraded (mostly perhaps secondary) and to a degree fragmented; secondly it appears that little to no deciduous or largely deciduous low-elevation gentle terrain habitat survives in the camera-trap survey areas (indeed, such habitat is now rare in Thailand). Thus, there is no way to compare occurrence between semi-evergreen/evergreen and deciduous habitats, or intact with degraded and fragmented habitats. The Thai data suggest a possible greater association with mosaics of different habitats, but this might simply be an artefact of the habitat types present and camera-trapping procedures. An additional survey not included in Chutipong et al. (2014) or the foregoing, of Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary (Wongchoo 2014), detected Large-spotted Civet at few camera-trap stations. These were all in deciduous forest, but in this site evergreen forest is very localised below 400 m and nearly all camera-trapping was in deciduous forest; analysis suggested low altitude, not forest-type, best explained the distribution of the species in the survey area.

There has been no investigation of diet, ranging, productivity or other aspects of natural history, all of which, particularly if compared across habitats, might usefully inform conservation planning and implementation for this species.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):5
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Much of the species's range, particularly Viet Nam and Lao PDR but increasingly other areas, has seen very heavy market-driven hunting using often non-selective methods such snaring. This is resulting in huge declines and, evidently, widespread local extirpations of many ground-dwelling mammals (e.g., Willcox et al. 2014). Moreover, there has been an increased demand for civets as luxury food in Chinese and Viet Namese markets (Bell et al. 2004, Lynam et al. 2005). Although there has been no specific assessment of the extent to which Large-spotted Civet is taken, it is likely to be neither positively sought nor actively avoided. W. Chutipong (pers. comm. 2014) saw in an internet video of civet-coffee farming in Thailand a Large-spotted Civet; whether the animal was part of the coffee processing operations or was simply a quirky trophy-pet was not clear.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Throughout much of Large-spotted Civet's range, ground-dwelling small carnivores are exposed to heavy hunting, particularly with snares and dogs. Some level of hunting pressure is likely to be almost universal. A rapid, ongoing expansion of wealthy social strata in Lao PDR, Cambodia, Viet Nam and China is in part driven by illegal trade in timber, wild meat and other forest resources, and by large infrastructure projects. This social change has driven a recent massive increase in demand for wildlife as luxury food in urban centres, particularly in China and Viet Nam; civets are a large part of this (Bell et al. 2004). There is no evidence that Large-spotted Civet is specifically sought (nor that it is eschewed); it is safe to assume that it comprises part of the general off-take, given that most methods are of low selectivity, such as lines of snares suitable for animals of this size class set at high density with drift fences (Willcox et al. 2012). In Viet Nam “the free market economy has resulted in feverish periods of trade in wild species nationwide, with negative impacts on biodiversity” (Government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam 2004). In Cambodia, the same factor has fostered a thriving wildlife-meat market and hunting of species for international wildlife trade (Timmins and Ou 2001, Timmins 2006, Maxwell et al. 2007), and the intensity of hunting there for some species is likely to exceed even that in Viet Nam. This reflects the logistical ease of hunting and trading with few controls and the relative abundance of high-value quarry species (R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008).

In many countries, the species's habitat use means that in many forest blocks it occurs mostly round the margins (lowlands) with the interior (often mostly hill forest) being unsuitable. This may insulate it to some extent from the worst of industrial snaring, because the peripheral areas are mostly already defaunated of high market-value species. Set against this, it is more likely in these areas to be encountered during general subsistence forest resource-gathering activities (e.g., firewood, food for domestic consumption, construction materials); people engaging in these are in many areas invariably accompanied by dogs, carrying guns and alert for any opportunistic hunting possibility for animals of this size-class and over. Of its current range states, Cambodia and, presumably, Myanmar both have multiple large protected areas comprising extensive areas at suitable altitude and terrain for this species. This gives more solid long-term options, but few of these are effectively managed at present, and hunting in some is known to be at very high levels.

Hunting is compounded by habitat loss. From the 1970s and the 1990s, large areas of lowland forest were converted to agriculture across parts the species's range, particularly in China, Thailand and Viet Nam (Lynam et al. 2005, Roberton 2007, Wang Ying-xiang pers. comm. 2006). Large areas were also logged and otherwise encroached. While this might well have had little direct effect on suitability for Large-spotted Civet, heavy hunting almost invariably accompanies such operations. Post-logging, the typically increased accessibility and fragmentation of habitat increases the threat of hunting and the negative effects on susceptible species (Lynam et al. 2005). While large-scale conversion of the small remaining tracts of lowland forest has mostly slowed in these countries since the 1990s, Lao PDR and, in particular, Cambodia are still within their main phase of conversion; and political and thus economic changes in Myanmar suggest the start of a similar upsurge there. Cambodia is presently seeing massive deforestation of the lowlands, particularly for local and plantation-scale agriculture; this is unquestionably reducing the extent of suitable habitat for Large-spotted Civet both outside and inside protected areas (T.N.E. Gray  pers. comm. 2014, R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2014). In Myanmar, there is a major trend in conversion of forest to plant oil agriculture, particularly in lowlands (J.W. Duckworth and Than Zaw pers. comm. 2006).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Large-spotted Civet has been found in many protected areas, particularly in Thailand and Cambodia (Gray et al. 2014, Chutipong et al. 2014). Most of these are not well managed, with some level of hunting, and many comprise largely unsuitable terrain and altitude for the species. Some of the PAs supporting it in Cambodia are afforded high ranking in conservation prioritisation, notably Mondulkiri Protected Forest, and Gray et al. (2010) called for Large-spotted Civet to be given specific consideration in management of this area. The species is nominally legally protected in most or all range states (excepting China, apparently), but these laws are widely flouted and over large parts of the species's present range have no deterrent effect on hunting levels. Recent great reductions in gun usage by civilians for hunting in Lao PDR and perhaps other countries have led to increased snaring efforts (in compensation); the latter is probably the more damaging form of hunting for this species (Lynam et al. 2005).

The overwhelming need is to secure multiple protected areas across its range by reducing hunting and habitat encroachment to levels not detrimental to this species. A firm legal basis already exists to do this in Lao PDR, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar. Such PAs should include Khao Ang Rue Nai WS and, perhaps, Huai Kha Khaeng WS, Thailand (the latter already one of the best-protected areas in South-east Asia; the former not), Mondulkiri Protected Forest and Preah Vihear Protected Forest (Cambodia), some in Myanmar (currently with too little information to decide which), and perhaps Xe Pian NPA in Lao PDR (although recent information is lacking and regional trends suggest it is quite likely the species will now be very rare there).

Citation: Timmins, R., Duckworth, J.W., WWF-Malaysia, Roberton, S., Gray, T.N.E., Willcox, D.H.A., Chutipong, W. & Long, B. 2016. Viverra megaspila. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41707A45220097. . Downloaded on 30 June 2016.
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