Wednesday, November 06, 2013

First satellite collaring of civets in Kinabatangan


KINABATANGAN: To better understand the impact of habitat fragmentation on small carnivores at the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, two male Malaysian civets were recently trapped and later fitted with satellite collars to track their movements.

The first civet, weighing 5.5 kilogrammes was captured on the night of Oct 26 at Lot 5 of the wildlife sanctuary and was sedated the following morning by the Kinabatangan Small Carnivore Project (KSCP) team, while the second was trapped two days ago.

The success was a collaboration between the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD), the Kinabatangan Small Carnivore Project (KSCP), Cardiff University (CU) and Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC). Funding is provided by the Sime Darby Foundation and Houston Zoo.

“Despite heavy habitat degradation within the Kinabatangan, a widely diverse small carnivore guild persists, which includes six species of civets, three species of small felines, and two confirmed species of otters. Our project therefore strives to understand the influences of habitat fragmentation on the spatial ecology and ecotoxicology of small carnivores residing within the wildlife sanctuary,” said Dr Benoit Goossens, director of Danau Girang Field Centre.

Dr Sergio Guerrero Sanchez, DGFC’s wildlife veterinarian, said the 5.5kg Malay civet, named ‘Tenang,’ meaning calm, tranquil or still in Malay, was captured within the wildlife corridor of Lot 5 of the LKWS during the night.

“In the early morning, the KSCP team safely sedated Tenang and conducted the sampling on site. Morphometric measurements, such as total body length and height at shoulder, were recorded, and blood, saliva, faecal and hair samples collected. The project hopes these samples will help determine the health of the small carnivore guild within the landscape of the LKWS,” said Sanchez.

He added the team worked extremely well and the procedure was safe, efficient and minimally invasive.

Project leader Meaghan Harris, who is a PhD student at Cardiff University, said thay as very little fundamental knowledge was known about these carnivores, a 70g GPS collar was comfortably fit on Tenang, making this the first satellite collar placed on a civet.

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