Brown Palm Civet, Pampadum Shola

by Neelakandan Madavana
Neelakandan Madavana

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

The Brown Palm Civet is listed in Schedule II part II of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, Vulnerable (VU B1+2c) in IUCN Red List, and Appendix III in CITES. This level of conservation protection appears adequate for the present, given the species’ wide distribution range along the Western Ghats.

On Dec 15th, 2012, we (Neelakandan Madavana and Navneeth Kishor) visited Pampadum Shola National Park, in Idukki district of Kerala. It was around 6pm and we were returning to camp after a trek. We noticed a movement in a tree trunk, not far from us and on closer observation, noticed this Brown Palm Civet climbing up to rest on a branch. These civets can easily go unnoticed to photographer’s eyes, and indeed, they were thought to be locally extinct in this area. We considered ourselves lucky to spot this individual. We took a few pictures without disturbing the civet and walked back to camp.

The Brown Palm Civet or Jerdon’s Palm Civet (Paradoxurus jerdoni) is an endemic carnivore restricted to the rainforest tracts of the Western Ghats and has been reported from an altitudinal range of 500–1,300 m, being more common in higher altitudes (Mudappa, 1998).The Brown Palm Civet replaces the Common Palm Civet (P. hermaphroditus) in tropical rainforests of the Western Ghats. Brown palm civets are predominantly frugivorous and are a key mammalian seed disperser for many rainforest plants and trees in the Western Ghats. In human impacted areas where other seed dispersers such as hornbills and pigeons are absent, the presence of civets is a great asset.

The Brown Palm Civet is listed in Schedule II part II of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, Vulnerable (VU B1+2c) in IUCN Red List, and Appendix III in CITES. This level of conservation protection appears adequate for the present, given the species’ wide distribution range along the Western Ghats. However, long-term protection of primary rainforests, both large stretches as well as fragments, is imperative. Conservation value of shade coffee and cardamom estates with natural canopy for the Brown Palm Civet needs to be recognised.

To know more about this species, read a report on the Distribution and status of the Brown Palm Civet in the Western Ghats.

About the author

Neelakandan Madavana
This photographer is a Kochi-based award winning graphic designer and animator.


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