Small carnivores

large Indian civet


Laos supports at least 21 species of small carnivores (Viverridae, Prionodontidae, Mustelidae, and Herpestidae) and is considered to be globally important for the conservation of many of these, yet for most species, baseline data on diversity, distribution, conservation and taxonomic status remain limited. Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area (NPA), central-eastern Laos, is ranked among the highest priority of the country?s NPAs for national and global biodiversity importance and is one of the largest remaining contiguous forest blocks in Indochina. A wildlife monitoring program based on camera trap surveys debuted in the area in 2006. From 2006 to 2011, ten blocks were sampled covering 900 km2 and totaling 20,452 camera trap days. Excluding Felidae, ten species of small carnivores were photographed during this survey, including the first confirmed record in the wild of Owston?s civet Chrotogale owstoni for the area and the second for Laos. This long-term camera-trap program is one of only two long-term wildlife monitoring programs in Laos and as such provides some of the most comprehensive data available on small carnivores for the country. The frequency of records for each species, local distribution and general behaviour observed are presented. Other species known to occur in the area but unrecorded by this camera trap survey are discussed. In total, at least 15 species of small carnivores occur in Nakai Nam Theun NPA. Although small carnivore species may be more resilient to hunting activities than larger mammals, the intensity of hunting with ground snares in the area is likely to result in dramatic population declines if it remains uncontrolled. Nakai-Nam Theun NPA should be considered as a priority area for the conservation of small carnivores, notably for Vulnerable Owston?s civet and its otter species.

Read the full paper:
Coudrat, C.N.Z., Nanthavong, C., Sayavong, S., Johnson, A., Johnston, J. and Robichaud, W.G. 2014. Conservation importance of Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area, Laos, for small carnivores, based on camera trap data. Raffle Bulletin of Zoology 62: 41-69. [PDF]


photo credit: Nanthavong C.

A confirmed record of Large-toothed Ferret Badger Melogale personata from central Laos suggesting syntopy with Small-toothed Ferret Badger M. moschata

Coudrat C.N.Z. and Nanthavong C.

Large-toothed Ferret Badger Melogale personata and Small-toothed Ferret Badger M. moschata overlap in distribution over much of their range. Precise distributions are little known because visual distinction of the two species seems possible only through clear inspection of their skull and dentition. Thus, large parts of their joint range lack authenticated records for one or both species. A skull photographed in a poacher camp in July 2011 is the first record of M. personata from Nakai?Nam Theun NPA (and only the second precise locality record for Laos). A recent M. moschata record from similar altitude and habitat only 12 km away strongly suggests syntopy of the two species.

read the full paper [PDF]


Our Otter project


In 2015, Project Anoulak initiated the first otter-specific camera-trap survey ever done in Nakai-Nam Theun NPA. Little is known about the status of otter species in Southeast Asia. In Lao PDR, two IUCN-listed Vulnerable species, Aonyx cinereus and Lutrogale perspicillata occur, and Lutra lutra may also still occur, only historically recorded. Otters are declining across their range due to precipitous loss of habitat, illegal trade, and decreasing prey base. Information is urgently needed on their distribution, habitat use and local threats. This project aims to collect new data on the distribution and taxonomic status of otter species in Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area (NNT NPA) in Lao PDR, in order to adopt long-term effective, on-the-ground conservation strategies for the species occurring in this area.

Read our first project report [PDF]