Overview

Distribution

Range Description

The only confirmed records of Bornean Ferret Badger are from Kinabalu and Crocker Range Parks, and the adjacent districts of Penampang, Tambunan and Tuaran in Sabah, Malaysia (Wong et al. 2011, Wilting et al. in prep.). In the latter three districts, 57 specimens were collected within a few years in the late 1960sto early 1970s (Wong et al. 2011). Dinets (2003) reported a sighting at 1,950 m asl at Kinabalu Park. Other recent records come from Crocker Range Park, where Wong et al. (2011) captured one individual at Gunung Alab and A.J. Hearn and J. Ross (pers. comm. 2014) camera-trapped it at three sites in the southern part of the park. All records of Bornean Ferret Badger are from uplands and highlands, between 500 m asl and over 3,000 m asl (Borneo Carnivore Symposium database). The field sighting by Boonratana (2010) from a tributary of the Kinabatangan River, Sabah, is here considered to have been in error: the lower Kinabatangan is more than 200 km east of the other records, is in the extreme lowlands and has received high subsequent observer effort without the species otherwise being found there (Wiltinget al. in prep.). Wozencraft (2005) stated that the species occurs in Indonesia (Kalimantan), Malaysia (Sabah, Sarawak) but this source contains multiple known distribution errors and this is assumed to be another of them. For Sarawak, there is only sub-fossil evidence from the Niah caves (Harrison 1996), andthere are apparently no records from Indonesia.
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Melogale everetti is only found on Mt. Kinabalu on the Northern tip of the island of Borneo. Mt. Kinabalu is in Kinabalu Park in the state of Sabah, Malaysia. It is the only ferret badger to inhabit this region.

Biogeographic Regions: oriental (Native )

Other Geographic Terms: island endemic

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Physical Description

Morphology

Melogale everetti is small and long compared to other species of ferret badger. They weigh between one and two kg, and are between 330 and 440 mm in length. The tail is long and bushy and can be from 152 to 230 mm in length.

Ferret badgers have short legs and broad feet with strong digging claws that are characteristic of badgers. There are ridges that run along the pads of the feet and the toes are partially webbed. These are thought to be climbing adaptations.

The defining characteristic of a ferret badger is the white or yellowish ferret-like mask on the face. A dorsal stripe is also present that can range in color from white to red. The rest of the body can range from grey-brown to dark black with a lighter under side.

No specific data exist on variations in coloration between the different ferret badger species, or whether they exhibit geographic variation.

Range mass: 1 to 3 kg.

Range length: 330 to 430 mm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

  • Walker, E. 1964. Mammals of the World, Vol. 2. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
All records of Bornean Ferret Badger seem to come from within evergreen hill and montane forest or adjacent scrubland. J.A. Eaton (pers. comm. 2014)saw one along a main road through shrubby secondary regrowth between two villages, but thiswas only a couple of hundred metresfrom tall forest. In contrast to the related Javan Ferret Badger M. orientalis,there seem to be no records from agricultural landscapes. Very little is known about Bornean Ferret Badgerdiet, but Payne et al. (1985) noted earthworms and small vertebrates. Dinets (2003) observed a Bornean Ferret Badger at a roadside rubbish dump in Kinabalu Park. Whereas Javan Ferret Badger has been observed to feed at picnic sites along the tourist trails of Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park, Java (Duckworth et al. 2008), Bornean Ferret Badger has so far not been observed along the picnic sites at the hiking trails of Mount Kinabalu (F.Y.Y. Tuh and M. Lakim pers. comm. to Wong et al. 2011). This species is believed to be nocturnal (corroborated by the few camera-trapping records; A.J. Hearn and J. Rosspers. comm. 2014) and ground-dwelling and fossorial (Payne et al. 1985).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Melogale everetti occurs on Mt. Kinabalu at elevations of 1,000 to 3,000 m. It is a little-studied species, so information on the particulars of its habitat are lacking. However, the habitat of the genus Melogale is wooded hillsides and sub-tropical and tropical forests. Considering the supporting information, the latter of the three is the most logical habitat description for this particular ferret badger, although there seems to be no information stating this specifically.

Range elevation: 1,000 to 3,000 m.

Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: rainforest ; mountains

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Trophic Strategy

All Melogale species appear to be very omnivorous. Ferret badgers forage on the ground mostly for invertebrates, amphibians, insects, fruit and carrion. They are also formidable climbers and have been known to forage in trees as well.

Animal Foods: birds; mammals; amphibians; reptiles; eggs; carrion ; insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods; terrestrial worms

Plant Foods: fruit

Primary Diet: omnivore

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Associations

Once again this is a field that has not been explored in reference to M. everetti. However, it is likely that because of their predatory behavior, these animals affect the populations of prey organisms. To the extent that these badgers must dig through the upper levels of soils to obtain food, these animals probably contribute to help to aerate the soil.

Ecosystem Impact: soil aeration

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The stripe and mask of M. everetti and its counterparts are thought to be warning coloration. Ferret badgers are said to emit a pungent scent from their anal glands when threatened.

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Known prey organisms

Melogale everetti preys on:
non-insect arthropods
Annelida
Arthropoda
Insecta
Amphibia
Reptilia
Aves
Mammalia
Melogale everetti

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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Known predators

Melogale everetti is prey of:
Melogale everetti

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Melogale everetti exhibits warning coloration and exudes a pungent odor from its scent glands if pressed. These forms of communication are similar to, but not as extreme as, those of skunks.

As is true of virtually all mammals, visual signals, tactile cues, scents, and vocalizations probably play some role in communication between conspecifics. However,  because there seem have been no observations of the behavior of M. everetti in the wild or in captivity published, it is mpt possible to comment further on any specific forms of communication used by these animals.

Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

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Life Expectancy

There appears to be no information on the lifespan of M. everetti either in the wild or in captivity. However, a very similar species, Melogale moschata, the Chinese ferret badger, is said to have still been living after 10 years and 6 months in captivity.

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Reproduction

Information on the mating system of this species is not available.

The breeding season of the genus Melogale is long and the females are actually able to reproduce at any point in the year. Males, however, undergo a period of non-reproduction. During this time (from around September to December) the male ferret badger ceases sperm production.

Females give birth to litters of 1 to 5 offspring after a gestation of 57 to 80 days. Young are weaned between 2 and 3 months of age.

Ferret badgers do not employ delayed implantation of embryos. Young are usually born in May and June.

Breeding interval: It is likely that these animals breed annually.

Breeding season: from around March to September

Range number of offspring: 1 to 5.

Range gestation period: 57 to 80 days.

Range weaning age: 2 to 3 months.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization ; viviparous

Little is known about the parental care in this species. Mothers care for their young in a burrow until they are able to forage for themselves. Nursing lasts for between 2 and 3 months. It is not known exactally when the young become independent of the mother, or whether the father plays any part in parental care.

Parental Investment: pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
EN
Endangered

Red List Criteria
B1ab(ii,iii,v)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2015

Assessor/s
Wilting, A., Duckworth, J.W., Hearn, A. & Ross, J.

Reviewer/s
Schipper, J.

Contributor/s
Wong, A. & Azlan J., M.

Justification
Bornean Ferret Badger is listed as Endangered reflecting its estimated extent of occurrence (EOO), which is about 4,200 km2 (Borneo Carnivore Symposium unpublished data; Wilting et al. in prep.), and thus smaller than the 5,000 km2 threshold for potential categorisation as Endangered under criterion B1. Based on all available occurrence records, including historical information from museum specimens, the Bornean Ferret Badger is restricted to Kinabalu and Crocker Range Parks and the close surrounding areas (Wong et al. 2011), constituting two to three locations. Although survey effort in montane forests in northeast Kalimantan and Sarawak and southern Sabah have been limited, there is currently no evidence that the Bornean Ferret Badger occurs in these regions, so, under the precautionary principle, these areas were not included in the estimated extent of occurrence. The small geographic distribution range is fragmented by roads including the main East-West Sabah highway. Its area of occupancy (AOO) is assessed as totalling about 1,100km2; partsare predicted to lie outside national parks and thus there is a plausible decline in its range, habitat quality (although the species' habitat associations are too poorly known to be sure of the effects of recent widespread habitat change in its range) and thus population size. The only systematic camera-trapping effort within the species range, in Crocker Range Park,revealed much lower detection rates for this species than for similar-sized small carnivores (A.J. Hearn and J. Ross pers. comm. 2014). Although there may not be a relationship between detection rates and abundance, these data suggest that even within its core range the species is rare and potentially occurs today at low densities (in parts of the Asian mainland, ferret badgers are camera-trapped in large numbers without the use of specialised camera-trapping protocol; southern China Lau et al. 2010, Viet Nam D.H.A. Willcox pers. comm. 2014). It is further projected that climate change will, on Borneo, particularly threaten highland species, such as Bornean Ferret Badger, for which potential upslope range shifts would be impossible (Struebig et al. 2015).

History
  • Data Deficient (DD)
  • 1996
    Vulnerable (VU)
  • 1994
    Insufficiently Known (K)
  • 1990
    Insufficiently Known (K)
  • 1988
    Insufficiently Known (K)
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The range of these animals is very limited, and as such, the population of these ferret badgers seems to be one which could easily be erradicated if proper steps are not taken to conserve its habitat. Although CITES and the US Endangered Species act don't consider the species any special risk, IUCN lists it as vulnerable.

Luckily for M. everetti, the range of the species falls into a protected national conservation park.

US Migratory Bird Act: no special status

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: data deficient

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Population

Population
Almost nothing is known about Bornean Ferret Badger population status or size within its small range. The high number of specimens in the Sabah Museum, all collected within a short period, suggests that this species naturally might occur at high densities, although the trapping effort for this collection is unknown. Since these collections over 40 years ago most records of Bornean Ferret Badger were single occurrence records, from which even coarse densities cannot be inferred. The low camera-trap encounter rate relative to other small carnivores in Crocker Range Park (A.J. Hearn and J. Ross pers. comm. 2014)rather suggests lower population densities, or only localised higher abundances. There is no direct information on population trend, but it is assumed to be in at least shallow decrease based on the amount of habitat conversion and encroachment coupled with a lack of road-kill records (and only onesighting of a live animal from a road; J.A. Eaton pers. comm. 2014)which, given greatly increased road traffic volumes in its range, suggests it is not common in converted habitats.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
The major threats to Bornean Ferret Badger are all linked to its very small distribution range (which is likely to be much less than 5,000 km2) and the restriction to a single forest complex. This makes the species very vulnerable to extinction from unpredictable events, such as an epidemic or natural catastrophes. It is further projected for Borneo that climate change is particularly likely to have negative effects on highland species such as Bornean Ferret Badger because potential upslope range shifts would be impossible (Struebig et al. 2015). Although its habitat associations are too poorly known to be sure that the recent widespread habitat change in its range poses an imminent threat, the ongoing paucity of incidental records(such as road-kills) in converted habitats suggests that the species is threatened by the ongoing land-cover transformations. There is no information on its susceptibility to whatever hunting levels occur in its range. It is not significantly traded, but it is no doubt caught in non-selective traps. In sum, several plausible threats operate but the population-level effects of each are unclear.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species is currently listed on the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 as Melogale personata not as Melogale everetti; this listing under an obsolete name could complicate enforcement of its protected status. This species is not listed on CITES, and indeed there is neither evidence nor likelihood, at present, of threat from international trade. This species is only confirmed from Mount Kinabalu and Crocker Range Parks and adjacent districts, but even within this small range occurrence records are rare and scattered. Additional surveys within this range are warranted, to clarify its range, population status and, most importantly determine the threats it faces to allow effective conservation actions to be developed. Surveys in highland forests in north-eastern Sarawak and North Kalimantan are also needed, to look for additional populations.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

There appears to be no information has been published on any negative affects of M. everetti upon humans.

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People travel from all over the world to visit Kinabalu Park where M. everetti resides. Kinabalu Park has a rich diversity of flora and fauna that attracts tourists. This tourism generates money for the surrounding area and the native people. Also, these animals may help humans in more direct ways. The Burmese ferret badger (Melogale personata) is said to be welcomed into the homes of the natives because their rid the premises of unwanted pests such as insects and invertebrates.

Positive Impacts: ecotourism

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Wikipedia

Bornean ferret-badger

The Bornean ferret-badger (Melogale everetti), also known as Everett's ferret-badger or the Kinabalu ferret-badger, is a member of the family Mustelidae. The scientific name commemorates British colonial administrator and zoological collector Alfred Hart Everett.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

This species of ferret-badger is only known with certainty from the highland forests on Mount Kinabalu and nearby regions in Sabah, Malaysia, but is suspected to occur elsewhere on Borneo, including Brunei, Kalimantan (to Indonesia) and Sarawak (to Malaysia). Their biggest threat is habitat loss through the rapid deforestation in Borneo.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Duckworth, J.W. & Azlan, J. (2008). Melogale everetti. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 21 March 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of data deficient
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