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A conservation assessment of Civettictis civetta

Authors:
  • North West Provincial Government

Abstract and Figures

The African Civet is listed as Least Concern as it is fairly common within the assessment region, inhabits a variety of habitats and vegetation types, and is present in numerous protected areas (including Kruger National Park). Camera-trapping studies suggest that there are healthy populations in the mountainous parts of Limpopo’s Waterberg, Soutpansberg, and Alldays areas, as well as the Greater Lydenburg area of Mpumalanga. However, the species may be undergoing some localised declines due to trophy hunting and accidental persecution (for example, poisoning that targets larger carnivores). Furthermore, the increased use of predator-proof fencing in the growing game farming industry in South Africa can limit movement of African Civets. The expansion of informal settlements has also increased snaring incidents, since it seems that civets are highly prone to snares due to their regular use of footpaths. Elsewhere in Africa, this species is an important component in the bushmeat trade. Although the bushmeat trade is not as severe within the assessment region, it is thought that trade in civet bushmeat will increase as other sources of bushmeat become scarce. Even though information regarding the traditional medicine trade of African Civets in the assessment region is limited, it is likely that this species has the same medicinal significance as in other regions of Africa. We recommend that research focuses on population size and trends, as well as quantification of traditional medicine use, legal removals through hunting and permeability of fences. We also recommend that local management efforts should include snare removal, especially along footpaths.
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The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland Civettictis civetta | 1
Taxonomy
Civettictis civetta (Schreber 1776)
ANIMALIA - CHORDATA - MAMMALIA - CARNIVORA -
VIVERRIDAE - Civettictis - civetta
Common names: African Civet, Civet (English), Siwetkat,
Afrikaanse Siwet, Afrika-siwet (Afrikaans), Insimba
(Ndebele), Tsaparangaka (Sesotho), Lifungwe,
Imphicanadloti (Swati), Fungwe (Tsonga), Tsaparangaka,
Tshipalere, Tshipalore, Tshipalôre, Tshipa-nôre (Tswana),
Dhatshatsha, Dzamatamanga, Dzambarananga,
Dzambaranwaha, Dzhatshatsha, Linyanganwaha (Venda),
Inyhwagi (Xhosa), iQaqa (Zulu)
Taxonomic status: Species
Taxonomic notes: This species was formerly considered
to be congeneric with Asian civets of the genus Viverra. It
was first included in Civettictis by Pocock (1915) and
retained in that genus by several authors, including Ray
(1995, 2013), Kingdon (1997) and Wozencraft (2005), but
others, such as Ellerman et al. (1953) and Coetzee (1977),
Civettictis civetta African Civet
Regional Red List status (2016) Least Concern
National Red List status (2004) Least Concern
Reasons for change No change
Global Red List status (2015) Least Concern
TOPS listing (NEMBA) (2007) None
CITES listing (1978) Appendix III
(Botswana)
Endemic No
Recommended citation: Swanepoel LH, Camacho G, Power RJ, Amiard P, Do Linh San E. 2016. A conservation
assessment of Civettictis civetta. In Child MF, Roxburgh L, Do Linh San E, Raimondo D, Davies-Mostert HT, editors. The
Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. South African National Biodiversity Institute and
Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa.
Alastair Kilpin
continued to include it in Viverra. Although several
subspecies have been recorded, their validity remains
questionable (Rosevear 1974; Coetzee 1977; Meester et
al. 1986).
Assessment Rationale
The African Civet is listed as Least Concern as it is fairly
common within the assessment region, inhabits a variety
of habitats and vegetation types, and is present in
numerous protected areas (including Kruger National
Park). Camera-trapping studies suggest that there are
healthy populations in the mountainous parts of
Limpopo’s Waterberg, Soutpansberg, and Alldays areas,
as well as the Greater Lydenburg area of Mpumalanga.
However, the species may be undergoing some localised
declines due to trophy hunting and accidental persecution
(for example, poisoning that targets larger carnivores).
Furthermore, the increased use of predator-proof fencing
in the growing game farming industry in South Africa can
limit movement of African Civets. The expansion of
informal settlements has also increased snaring incidents,
since it seems that civets are highly prone to snares due
to their regular use of footpaths. Elsewhere in Africa, this
species is an important component in the bushmeat trade.
Although the bushmeat trade is not as severe within the
assessment region, it is thought that trade in civet
bushmeat will increase as other sources of bushmeat
become scarce. Even though information regarding the
traditional medicine trade of African Civets in the
assessment region is limited, it is likely that this species
has the same medicinal significance as in other regions of
Africa. We recommend that research focuses on
population size and trends, as well as quantification of
traditional medicine use, legal removals through hunting
and permeability of fences. We also recommend that local
management efforts should include snare removal,
especially along footpaths.
Regional population effects: The African Civet’s range is
continuous with the rest of its African range and there are
no major barriers to this species’ dispersal. We therefore
assume that there is dispersal across regional boundaries,
especially across the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park
(GLTP), and across the Limpopo Province with Botswana
and Zimbabwe. However, within the assessment region,
an increase in predator-proof fencing across the game
ranching areas in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West
provinces will severely obstruct civet dispersal.
Distribution
The African Civet is widely distributed in Africa from
Senegal and Mauritania to southern Sudan, Ethiopia,
Djibouti, and southern Somalia southwards in all countries
to northeastern Namibia, north and east Botswana, and
northeastern South Africa (Ray 2013). It is present on
Zanzibar Island (Pakenham 1984; Stuart and Stuart 1998)
and Sao Tome Island (Dutton 1994). The species is
recorded from almost sea level to altitudes of 5,000 m asl
on Mt Kilimanjaro (Moreau 1944).
In Ethiopia, there are over 200
registered and licensed African Civet farmers who
capture this species in the wild and keep several
thousand individuals in captivity for the production
of “civetone” (civet musk), which is used as a
fixing agent in the perfume industry (Kumera
2005). This is still being done even though
synthetic alternatives are available.
Civettictis civetta | 2 The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland
Figure 1. Distribution records for African Civet (Civettictis civetta) within the assessment region
Within the assessment region, it occurs in the northern
parts of the South Africa, including northern KwaZulu-
Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the northern parts of
the North West Province. Its dispersal routes are
unknown, but can be suspected to be contiguous with its
distribution. Camera-trapping across Limpopo and
Mpumalanga show them to be fairly common
(L. Swanepoel unpubl. data), but their distribution and
abundance in other provinces remains uncertain. Recent
data also reveal their occurrence in the Free State
Province. However, these records should be interpreted
with caution as they may pertain to escapees from game
farms and thus represent translocations rather than
natural occurrences (N.L. Avenant pers. comm. 2016).
Although Power (2014) noted that the extent of
occurrence (EOO) of this species has contracted by 36%
since 1983 in the North West Province, this is a range-
edge and marginal distribution, and range expansions or
Country Presence Origin
Botswana Extant Native
Lesotho Absent -
Mozambique Extant Native
Namibia Extant Native
South Africa Extant Native
Swaziland Extant Native
Zimbabwe Extant Native
contractions are difficult to estimate accurately. African
Civets do seem to now be absent from the Magaliesberg
area an area in which they once occurred in the pre-
1980s (see Rautenbach 1978). In the North West Province
they are not known further south than the 25° 30` S
parallel. They are common in Madikwe Game Reserve and
Borakalalo National Parks, but are rare in Pilanesberg
National Park (see Power 2014). In the Limpopo Province
there seem to be healthy populations in the Waterberg
District (protected and non-protected areas),
Soutpansberg/Vhembe District (projected and non-
protected) and a number of game/livestock farming areas.
In KwaZulu-Natal their distribution and abundance seem
to be localised, with rare detections in Phinda and Thanda
Nature Reserves (L.H. Swanepoel unpubl. data). Skinner
and Chimimba (2005) documented their occurrence in the
middleveld and the Lubombo region of Swaziland. This
species does not occur in Lesotho (N.L. Avenant pers.
comm. 2016).
Population
Within the assessment region, density estimates vary
between different land uses. In Limpopo, using spatial
markrecapture models, African Civet density was
estimated to be around 14.11 ± 4.15 individuals / 100 km²
for protected areas without African Lions (Panthera leo)
(e.g. Lapalala Wilderness), 11.39 ± 5.52 for game farming
areas (e.g. the Waterberg Mountains) and 6.42 ± 1.99 for
protected areas with African Lions (e.g. Welgevonden
Private Game Reserve) (Isaacs et al. in press). These
results concur with camera-trap studies elsewhere in
Limpopo (2013 and 2014) where civet populations were
Table 1. Countries of occurrence within southern Africa
The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland Civettictis civetta | 3
estimated at 10.1 ± 0.56 and 9.04 ± 0.82 individuals / 100
km² in Mogalakwena Game Reserve and 14.18 ± 0.12
individuals / 100 km² at Moyo Conservation Project
Reserve (both in Alldays area; Amiard 2014). Similarly
density estimates from Soutpansberg hovered around
15 individuals / 100 km² (A. Thomissen unpubl. data).
Corroborating these estimates, camera-trap studies
conducted in the mountainous areas of the Greater
Lydenburg area of Mpumalanga, revealed healthy
populations with home range sizes between 3 and 5 km²
(G. Camacho unpubl. data). The population estimation of
12.52 individuals / 100 km² at Thaba Tholo Wilderness
Reserve in the Mpumalanga Province accords with the
previous result (Amiard 2014).
These current population estimates suggest healthy civet
populations both inside and outside protected areas and
these are not thought to be declining. However, several
factors seem to drive African Civet populations. First, data
from Waterberg studies (Isaacs 2016; Isaacs et al. in
press) seem to point to top-down regulation by large
carnivores (sensu Prugh et al. 2009), which suggest that
high densities of large carnivores (e.g. in small fenced
reserves) might limit civet populations. Secondly, there is
some evidence (e.g. Mpumalanga and Venda rural areas;
L.H. Swanepoel & G. Camacho unpubl. data) that snaring
can reduce civet populations. Civets seem to be highly
prone to snares as they regularly use footpaths and they
can feed on carrion. Snaring for bush meat is often
concentrated around rural areas, where civets can
investigate animal caught in snares and can subsequently
be also snared. For example, within the Vhembe District
Municipality of Limpopo, L.H. Swanepoel (unpubl. data)
using camera-trapping (60 days of camera-trapping; 1,060
camera-trap days; 1,500 ha study area) did not find
African Civets near local villages or near urban areas,
which suggest that they are either killed directly or
indirectly. They are often found on livestock farms, but
here they are killed accidentally by poisoning campaigns
targeting large carnivores. Thirdly, while populations might
seem viable, there is currently no data on the legal
removal of Civets through local and international trophy
hunting. Thus, expanding human settlements, especially
along the edge of protected areas (Wittemyer et al. 2008)
could lead to local subpopulation declines or extinctions.
More research is however needed to determine the net
population trend for the assessment region.
Current population trend: Unknown
Continuing decline in mature individuals: Unknown, but
probably not.
Number of mature individuals in population: Unknown
Number of mature individuals in largest subpopulation:
Unknown
Number of subpopulations: It is not currently possible to
determine the extent or number of subpopulations.
Severely fragmented: No. They have a broad habitat
tolerance and can exist in agricultural and rural
landscapes.
Habitats and Ecology
African Civets occupy a wide variety of habitats including
secondary forest, woodland, and bush habitats, as well as
aquatic environments. They are generally absent from arid
regions, with the exception of riverine systems therein.
They are apparently uncommon in mature interior forest
habitats, but will infiltrate deep forest via logging roads,
and in the forests of West and Central Africa, they thrive in
degraded and deforested areas, and are regularly
encountered near villages (Ray 2013). They are also found
on cultivated land, for instance in Gabon (Bahaa-el-din et
al. 2013) and Ethiopia (Mateos et al. 2015). In South
Africa, they mainly occur in the Savannah Biome but their
range includes a small part of the Grassland Biome as
well. In the North West Province, camera-trapping studies
indicate that they have a predilection for the Dwarsberg
Swartruggens Mountain Bushveld vegetation type (Power
2014). Wooded landscapes seem to be more favoured
than open grasslands, and riverine areas adequately
supported by many tributaries and rocky outcrops are
preferred. African Civets generally sleep in dense vegetation
during the day (but see Photo 1), such as thickets and
stands of long grass, among tangled roots or under logs,
as well as in burrows excavated by other animals (Ray
2013).
African Civets are omnivorous and opportunistic foragers
(Ray and Sunquist 2001; Bekele et al. 2008b; Amiard
2014), and their diet may include cereals (maize, wheat,
barley) and domestic fruits (e.g. bananas, figs, olives;
Bekele et al. 2008b). They are avid feeders on toxic
millipedes (Smithers & Wilson 1978), and they commonly
feed on fruits such as raisin bushes (Grewia sp.) in Alldays
area, Limpopo (Amiard 2014). They are thought to play an
important role in the dispersal of such fruiting trees.
They are terrestrial, nocturnal and solitary, with the
exception of the breeding season when two or more
individuals can be seen together. In Ethiopia, in the Bale
Mountains National Park, one radio-tracked sub-adult
male had a home range of 11.1 km² (Admasu et al. 2004),
while in Wondo Genet, one adult male (0.74 km²) and one
sub-adult female (0.82 km²) ranged over much smaller
areas (Ayalew et al. 2013). The last two individuals moved
at an average speed of 326 m / h and travelled between
1.33 and 4.24 km each night. The African Civet
characteristically moves slowly, and will often lie down or
stand motionless when disturbed (Skinner & Chimimba
2005).
Ecosystem and cultural services: Civet species play an
important role in seed dispersal, especially in forests of
Asia and probably Africa too (Pendje 1994, but see Abiyu
et al. 2015). No research has been carried out so far on
the role of African Civets in seed dispersal in South Africa,
Photo 1. Unusual observation of an African Civet (Civettictis
civetta) day-resting in a sparsely vegetated understory in
Kruger National Park (Emmanuel Do Linh San)
Civettictis civetta | 4 The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland
but it is thought that they play an important role in
dispersing seeds of key plant species. Additionally,
African Civets have historically been the main animal
species from which a musky scent could be extracted and
used in perfumery (see Use and Trade).
Use and Trade
Besides their prevalence in bushmeat markets in West
and Central Africa (see Threats), in particular, African
Civets are economically important because of their
perineal gland secretion (civet musk or “civet”; Randall
1979; Bekele et al. 2008a; Wondmagegne et al. 2011),
which has been exploited for many centuries as a fixing
agent, called “civetone” in the perfume industry (Anonis
1997). Even though synthetic alternatives have been
available for nearly 70 years (see Rosevear 1974),
civetone remains an important export commodity in
several countries, such as Ethiopia, and to a lesser extent,
Niger and Senegal (Ray 1995, 2013; Abebe 2003; Ray et
al. 2005). Between 1985 and 1997, civiculture (i.e. civet
farming) generated a total revenue of between
c. US$150,000835,000 per year in Africa. According to
Kumera (2005), there are over 200 registered and licensed
African Civet farmers who capture this species in the wild
and keep several thousand individuals in captivity for
musk production in Ethiopia. Only male civets are kept, as
they produce greater quantities and better quality musk
than females. Apparently no attempt has yet been made
to breed this species in captivity (Tolosa & Regassa 2012).
In Ethiopia, only 2% of the civet musk produced is used
nationally; the rest is exported, essentially to France
(85%), for the perfume industry (Girma 1995). Small
quantities of civet musk are also exported to Arabian
countries for medicinal purposes and to India for use in
the tobacco industry (Tamiru 1995). To our knowledge
civet farming is not practiced in the assessment region.
African Civets are becoming an important trophy and
locally hunted species in Limpopo (see e.g. https://
www.discountafricanhunts.com/hunts/honey-badger-civet-
and-genet-hunt-in-south-africa.html). Hunting quotas for
this province during 2011 were around 50 animals. Export
permits showed that an average of 58 ± 11 trophies were
exported from South Africa per year between 2002 and
Category Applicable? Rationale Proportion of total
harvest Trend
Subsistence use Yes Used as bushmeat, trophies, skins and
traditional medicine.
Minority Unknown,
probably stable.
Commercial use Yes Selling of bushmeat, skins and probably
traditional medicine products. Trophy hunting.
Trade of civetone for the perfume industry.
Majority Probably stable;
trophy hunting
predicted to
increase.
Harvest from wild
population
Yes Localised and opportunistic harvest for meat,
skins and traditional medicine.
Trophy hunting.
Trapping of African Civets by dealers or
farmers to keep in captivity for the production
and trade of civetone.
Limited in the assessment
region.
Important locally.
Majority of harvest in
Ethiopia. Not applicable in
the assessment region.
Probably stable.
Predicted to
increase.
Probably stable.
Harvest from ranched
population
No - - -
Harvest from captive
population
No African Civets (only males) kept in civet farms
all come from the wild.
- -
Table 2. Use and trade summary for the African Civet (Civettictis civetta)
Parts 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Specimens - - - 1 - - - - - - -
Bodies - 2 1 2 - - - 1 1 3 5
Feet - - 4 - - - - - - - -
Leather products - 1 - - - - 1 1 - - -
Live - 1 - - - 1 - - - - 1
Skins 1 2 24 3 37 1 - 8 45 66 35
Skulls 4 2 16 - 38 - 1 9 56 82 37
Tails - - 1 - - - - - - - -
Trophies 48 39 51 56 56 68 73 71 49 65 64
Table 3. CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) trade data for African Civet
(Civettictis civetta) exports from South Africa
The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland Civettictis civetta | 5
the fact that African Civets are nocturnal and frequently
utilise footpaths as pathways as well as roads, they are
prone to being caught in snares and experience high
mortalities on South Africa’s roads, especially in
Mpumalanga and Limpopo (Collinson 2013). In the
Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area,
African Civets were the top three most important mammal
road kills, and in a period of 120 days, 16 dead individuals
were found knocked down by cars (Collinson 2013). This
could amount to as many as 50 killed per year, which
could have an impact on a local population. More
research is needed to determine whether the hunting
quotas are sustainable, especially in conjunction with non-
commercial mortalities.
Throughout the rest of Africa, however, African Civets are
commonly found for sale as bushmeat, and are one of the
most abundant mammals found in bushmeat markets in
southeast Nigeria, where they are utilised for both food
and skin (Angelici et al. 1999). They are frequently found
trapped for meat in other countries, including Sierra
Leone, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African
Republic, Congo Republic, and Cameroon (Ray 2013). It
is suspected that, if traditional bushmeat sources in South
Africa become scarce, this species may become
increasingly exploited.
Current habitat trend: Stable. The Savannah Biome is not
threatened within the assessment region (Driver et al.
2012).
Conservation
The African Civet is present in numerous protected areas
across its range within the assessment region, for
2012 (Table 3). Given the estimated densities of this
species in non-protected areas, it is possible that the
current harvest has a low impact. However, because
quotas do not take into account any non-hunting related
mortality, there is a need to evaluate the sustainability of
current harvest offtakes. Additionally, civet skins have
been confiscated in North West Province (Power 2014),
which suggests a local trade in the species, although
likely not extensive owing to a marginal distribution there.
Even though information regarding the traditional
medicine trade of African Civets in the assessment region
is limited, it is likely that this species has the same
medicinal significance as in other regions of Africa.
It is expected that wildlife ranching will play a positive role
in African Civet conservation and distribution. However,
two important factors can affect the role of game ranches
in the conservation of this species. First, carnivore
persecution among game ranches is high and can lead to
accidental killing of African Civets (via poisoning for other
carnivores). Secondly, the use of predator-proof fencing is
increasing in popularity (due to protection of expensive
game), which could limit the movement of African Civets
between properties. This could lead to population
fragmentation and local inbreeding in civet populations
caught on such properties.
Threats
There are no major threats to the species within the
assessment region. African Civets are sometimes
poisoned through direct persecution by landowners for
livestock and crop protection, or indirectly as part of other
damage-causing animal persecution programmes. Due to
Net effect Unknown
Data quality Suspected
Rationale Wildlife ranching may be expanding habitat for African Civets but also may cause accidental persecution and
fragmentation through predator-proof fencing.
Management
recommendation
Reduce persecution of this species through holistic management techniques. Drop fences to form conservancies.
Table 4. Possible net effects of wildlife ranching on the African Civet (Civettictis civetta) and subsequent management
recommendations
Rank Threat description Evidence in the
scientific literature Data quality Scale of
study Current trend
1 5.1.3 Persecution/Control: poisoning by
landowners for livestock and crop
protection.
- Anecdotal - Probably stable
2 4.1. Roads & Railways: mortality by
collision with motor vehicles.
Collinson 2013 Empirical National Likely to be increasing with
increasing road traffic,
development and rural population.
3 5.1.2 Hunting & Collecting Terrestrial
Animals: indirect persecution targeted at
other damage-causing animals.
- Anecdotal - Probably stable
4 5.1.1 Hunting & Collecting Terrestrial
Animals: direct hunting or poaching and
snaring for trophies, skins, bushmeat and
traditional medicine.
- Anecdotal - Stable due to cultural use being
localised. Trophy hunting
predicted to increase.
Table 5. Threats to the African Civet (Civettictis civetta) ranked in order of severity with corresponding evidence (based on IUCN
threat categories, with regional context)
Civettictis civetta | 6 The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland
example the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier
Conservation Area, Marakele National Park, Blyde River
Canyon Nature Reserve, Pilanesberg National Park, and
the Kruger National Park, which represents the largest
protected subpopulation. Additionally, the population of
Botswana is listed on CITES Appendix III. Detailed
recommendations to ensure the sustainable use of African
Civets for musk production can be found in Abebe (2003).
Educational campaigns should be used to decrease
persecution by landowners and public awareness
campaigns should be used to increase the profile of this
species. The trophy hunting industry should be monitored,
specifically the age, sex and location where animals were
hunted. Conservancy formation should be incentivised to
allow African Civets to disperse. Permeable fences should
also be trialled, such as done in Namibia with rubber tyre
installation which allows free passage of many wildlife
species between farms (Weise et al. 2014), and the same
design would allow movements of African Civets too.
Road mortalities should be monitored in order to evaluate
the ecological impact on local populations. Many factors
may influence road casualties such as habitat use and
movement patterns. These factors should be considered
before setting up any mitigation devices.
Recommendations for land managers and
practitioners:
Currently, no management plan is needed, although
local monitoring programmes should be established
to determine population size and trends, and the
impacts of trophy hunting and trade, as well as
monitoring of traditional medicine use and bushmeat
hunting.
Research priorities:
Population sizes in protected and non-protected
areas across its range.
Impact of harvest on population persistence.
Population demographics.
Spatial ecology, especially effect of predator-proof
fences on movement and population ecology.
Seed dispersal as an ecosystem service provided by
African Civets.
Prevalence of African Civet body parts in traditional
medicine markets.
Existing African Civet research projects by L.H. Swanepoel
and colleagues at the University of Venda include a
population density study in the Waterberg Biosphere, and
spatial ecology and seed dispersal studies of this species
in forested patches.
Encouraged citizen actions:
Report sightings on virtual museum platforms (for
example, iSpot and MammalMAP), especially
outside protected areas.
Landowners should form conservancies or employ
permeable fences.
Rank Intervention description
Evidence in
the scientific
literature
Data
quality
Scale of
evidence Demonstrated impact
Current
conservation
projects
1 5.4 Compliance & Enforcement:
systematic monitoring of trophy hunting
trade.
- Anecdotal - - -
2 1.1 Site/Area Protection: conservancy
formation.
- Anecdotal - - -
3 2.3 Habitat & Natural Process
Restoration: development of permeable
fences, for example with the use of
rubber tyres.
Weise et al.
2014
Indirect Local Eleven mammalian
species were shown to
utilise tyres installed in
wildlife-proof fences as a
passageway.
-
4 4.3 Awareness & Communications:
education awareness campaigns for
landowners and the general public.
- Anecdotal - - -
5 5.4 Compliance & Enforcement:
Systematic monitoring of the use of this
species in the traditional medicine
industry.
- Anecdotal - - -
6 5.4 Compliance & Enforcement: speed
control on roads.
Table 6. Conservation interventions for the African Civet (Civettictis civetta) ranked in order of effectiveness with corresponding
evidence (based on IUCN action categories, with regional context)
Data sources Field study (literature, unpublished),
indirect information (literature, expert
knowledge)
Data quality (max) Estimated
Data quality (min) Inferred
Uncertainty resolution Best estimate
Risk tolerance Evidentiary
Table 7. Information and interpretation qualifiers for the
African Civet (Civettictis civetta) assessment
Data Sources and Quality
The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland Civettictis civetta | 7
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Assessors and Reviewers
Lourens H. Swanepoel1, Gerrie Camacho2, R. John
Power3, Pamela Amiard4, Emmanuel Do Linh San5†
1University of Venda, 2Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency,
3North West Provincial Government, 4Mogalakwena Research
Centre, 5University of Fort Hare
IUCN SCC Small Carnivore Specialist Group
Contributors
Philippe Gaubert1, Wondmagegne Daniel2, Justina C.
Ray3, Zimkitha J.K. Madikiza4, Claire Relton5
1Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, 2Texas Tech
University, 3Wildlife Conservation Society, 4University of the
Witwatersrand, 5Endangered Wildlife Trust
IUCN SSC Small Carnivore Specialist Group
Details of the methods used to make this assessment can
be found in Mammal Red List 2016: Introduction and
Methodology.
... The lack of research on African civets seems related to their solitary nocturnal nature and their low conservation status. The species is listed as Least Concern by The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (Do Linh San et al., 2019) and The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Swaziland, and Lesotho (Swanepoel et al., 2016). Therefore, it seems to have a low research priority as it actually may benefit from anthropogenic habitat modification, favouring agricultural lands and degraded forests (Ray et al., 2005;Williams et al., 2018). ...
Chapter
The African civet, Civettictis civetta, is the largest member of the Viverridae family and one of the most widely distributed mesocarnivores in Africa. Despite its wide geographic distribution, little is known about its ecology, behaviour, and conservation biology, such as abundance and density. Mesocarnivores can play important roles in ecosystem functioning and these roles may become more important, especially in areas where large carnivores are actively removed (e.g. mesocarnivore release hypothesis). In this study, we use data from a camera-trapping survey originally designed to monitor leopards, Panthera pardus, to report on the density of African civets across different land-use types – two conservation areas (Lapalala, Welgevonden) and one mosaic ‘Farming area’ consisting of hunting, ecotourism, and livestock farms – in the moist mountain bushveld region of the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, South Africa. We fitted spatially explicit capture–recapture (secr) models, with parameter sharing, across the different sites to improve estimates. We found that the study site (and hence land use type) had a significant effect on African civet density, detection probability, and the movement parameter. Density estimates were the highest for Lapalala (8.63 ± 2.30 individuals/100 km2), followed by the Farming area (4.88 ± 1.05 individuals/ 100 km2) while the lowest density was detected on Welgevonden (4.43 ± 1.13 individuals/100 km2). Our results suggest that there are healthy African civet populations within the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, but that land use might play an important role in African civet population demographics. We hypothesize that differences in African civet density might be a result of factors such as top–down regulation from large carnivores, recreational hunting, poisoning, resource provisioning, and human activity. Keywords African civet–camera—trapping–density–spatially explicit capture—recapture models
Article
Full-text available
The diet of the African Civet Civettictis civetta was compared between two vegetation types in South Africa: Limpopo Sweet Bushveld (LSB) and Musina Mopane Bushveld (MMB), both located in the Savannah biome. Food items found in scat samples were similar in both vegetation types, but their frequency of occurrence differed. Wild fruits such as raisin bush Grewia spp. and invertebrate species like millipedes Archispirostreptus gigas formed the two major components of the Civet diet in both bushveld types. Fruit species were more abundant in the LSB scat samples with a 62.2% frequency of occurrence whereas invertebrate remains were more frequent (64.5%) in samples from the MMB. Remains of venomous scorpion species, mainly from the Buthidae family, were found in considerable quantities as well, the first time scorpions are reported to be part of the Civet diet. Our results confirm the omnivorous and opportunistic behaviour of the African Civets as their diet reflects the temporal availability of prey, fruits and seeds in their immediate habitat. Moreover, the large amount of seeds ingested by Civets suggests that they could act as an important seed disperser.
Article
Full-text available
The African Civet Civettictis civetta is known for its production of civet musk that is used as fixative in perfume industry. Ethiopia is the world’s main supplier of civet musk. In spite of such a remarkable economic importance, little is known about the current status of the indigenous population and traditional knowledge of African Civet in the wild. Indigenous traditional knowledge and community attitudes towards African Civet were surveyed qualitatively and quantitatively in the eastern sub-catchment of Lake Hawassa Basin, from December 2011 to May 2012. A ‘focus group discussion’ involved 10 discussants were selected by group of researchers from the two target Woreda administration offices of the study area. More formal/quantitative survey targeted 96 rural households in two adjoining Woreda units. Interviewees were selected by stratified direct sampling. Local people apparently are highly familiar with behaviour and economic use of the species. Most people described their relationship with African Civet as neutral (44%) or positive (40%), respectively, and only 16% of 96 interviewees claimed an antagonistic relationship. Most respondents (92% of 66) identified maize as the most damaged crop. More than two-third (71%) of 70 respondents identified guarding, fencing and repellents as a means of minimizing the damage caused by the species, while others indicated that they use lethal trapping (10%), spearing/shooting (7%) and poisoning (3%), respectively. The remaining 9% mentioned that they tolerate civet damage.
Article
Full-text available
Wildlife-proof fencing is increasing in extent as a result of the growing wildlife industry on private lands in southern Africa. In environments where such fences hinder the movements of free-ranging wildlife, the provision of artificial passageways can restore connectivity for some species. We tested the use of 49 discarded car tyres as wildlife passageways along the border of a Namibian wildlife farm. Tyres were installed into a wildlife-proof fence to reduce regular warthog (Phacochoerus africanus) damage to the fence and to provide connectivity and dispersal opportunities for selected indigenous wildlife species between adjacent farmland properties. The total cost for all 49 tyre installations was USD 252, which is significantly cheaper than daily fence patrols and maintenance. In addition, one tyre was monitored specifically for large carnivore activity with a motion-triggered camera trap (n = 96 trap days between August and December 2010). Eleven mammalian species used the tyre as a passageway and both cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) and leopards (Panthera pardus) made regular and repeated use of the tyre. Nine independent recordings of cheetahs, representing seven individuals, were made. One leopard was photographed four times. The suitability of discarded tyres as cost-effective artificial wildlife passageways for a range of mammalian species is stressed.
Article
Full-text available
Natural scent marking by African Civet Civettictis civetta was studied in three locations from the Jimma area, western Ethiopia. Scent-marks were found on 96 artefacts including trees, shrubs, bushes, electric and fencing poles, at a mean height of 31 cm above ground. Thirty-five percent of the scent-marked artefacts were located within 5 m of civetries. Each of the 13 sites where remarking was observed yielded a maximum of 0.4698 g/site and a minimum of 0.0092 g/site during the first collection and 0.1289 g and 0.0132 g, respectively, during subsequent collections. Re-marking was observed within five days after collection. The colour of the scent marks changed from whitish-yellow to dark-brown in a week. Non-invasive collection of perineal gland secretion in the wild, if properly managed, may be a sustainable alternative resource to African Civet farming.
Chapter
The African civet, Civettictis civetta, is the largest member of the Viverridae family and one of the most widely distributed mesocarnivores in Africa. Despite its wide geographic distribution, little is known about its ecology, behaviour, and conservation biology, such as abundance and density. Mesocarnivores can play important roles in ecosystem functioning and these roles may become more important, especially in areas where large carnivores are actively removed (e.g. mesocarnivore release hypothesis). In this study, we use data from a camera-trapping survey originally designed to monitor leopards, Panthera pardus, to report on the density of African civets across different land-use types – two conservation areas (Lapalala, Welgevonden) and one mosaic ‘Farming area’ consisting of hunting, ecotourism, and livestock farms – in the moist mountain bushveld region of the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, South Africa. We fitted spatially explicit capture–recapture (secr) models, with parameter sharing, across the different sites to improve estimates. We found that the study site (and hence land use type) had a significant effect on African civet density, detection probability, and the movement parameter. Density estimates were the highest for Lapalala (8.63 ± 2.30 individuals/100 km2), followed by the Farming area (4.88 ± 1.05 individuals/ 100 km2) while the lowest density was detected on Welgevonden (4.43 ± 1.13 individuals/100 km2). Our results suggest that there are healthy African civet populations within the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, but that land use might play an important role in African civet population demographics. We hypothesize that differences in African civet density might be a result of factors such as top–down regulation from large carnivores, recreational hunting, poisoning, resource provisioning, and human activity. Keywords African civet–camera—trapping–density–spatially explicit capture—recapture models
Article
Frugivores mammals are known to affect the spatial patterns of seed dispersal in forests. Information on dispersion pattern and ecological significance of seed dispersal by these vectors in human dominated an degraded forest patches is scanty. We studied the dispersal pattern created by African Civet (Civettictis civetta) in and around a church forest. The study included analyzing the spatial distribution of civet defecation sites as well as the abundance of embedded seeds and seedlings. Civet latrines are found inside and outside the forest, where 28.5% were located on farms and the same amount inside the forest, and the remaining 43% on the forest edge. The nearest neighbor average distance between defecation places was ca. 200 m and their spatial distribution in the landscape have regular pattern. Civet consumes the fruits and defecate intact seeds of Olea europaea L. subsp. cuspidata (Wall. ex G. Don) Cif., Cordia africana Lam. and Mimusops kummel A. DC. to unique defecation sites. Civet disperse seeds in spatially regular pattern in to heterogeneous habitats. The overall importance of this animal for seed dispersal is substantial. Restoration and conservation efforts should optimize this opportunity. In general, church forests have dual conservation value.