Viet Nature Conservation

Records of two Large-spotted Civet and Owston’s Civet in Phong Dien Nature Reserve, Thua Thien Hue province

In search for Edwards’s Pheasant, a Critically Endangered bird endemic to Vietnam, from 2011 to date Viet Nature Conservation Centre has continuously carried out camera trapping surveys in four provinces in Central Vietnam, from Ha Tinh to Thua Thien Hue. Though no records of Edwards’s Pheasant in the wild was obtained, survey finding has brought new hope for the conservation community in Vietnam and internationally when confirming the persistence of species thought to have gone extinct in Vietnam.

In Thua Thien Hue province, during the first half of 2016, Viet Nature collaborated with Phong Dien Nature Reserve management board to conduct two rounds of camera trapping surveys, with over 3,500 camera trap days, recording 9 globally threatened species, including two extremely rare civet species, namely Owston’s Civet Chrotogale owstoni and Large-spotted Civet Viverra megaspila, both are Endangered according to IUCN Red List 2016.

It’s known that in Vietnam, Owston’s Civet were only photographed in the wild in Saola Nature Reserve in Thua Thien Hue in 2015 and Phong Dien Nature Reserve in 2016. And for Large-spotted Civet, this is the first time it was recorded in the wild by camera traps.

Mr Le Trong Trai, a leading ecologist and conservation planner, Director of Viet Nature Conservation Centre, said “The records of these two extremely rare civets in Phong Dien are very important for conservation research and planning for the site. It indicates that hunting and trapping activities are relatively less rampant in Phong Dien than in many other sites in North Central Vietnam. Hopefully, many other rare and globally threatened species such as Edwards’s Pheasant, may still persist in Phong Dien forest.”

J. W. Duckworth, IUCN SSC Small Carnivore Red List Authority Coordinator, said: “Large-spotted Civet and Owston’s Civet were both, in June 2016, recategorised on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species from Vulnerable to Endangered. Endangered is the second-highest category of threat on the Red List, and of the approximately 170 species of small carnivore worldwide, only 10 others are ranked as Endangered or as the higher category of Critically Endangered. These recategorisations reflected the rapid population declines through forest loss compounded by heavy trade-driven hunting in the remaining forest. To find both these species in one conservation area indicates its outstanding conservation importance and management priority. There are very few recent Vietnamese records of either species and immediate, effective threat reduction in and around Phong Dien is vital to retain the two species.”

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 Viet Nature and other members of Pheasant Working Group members visiting Phong Dien NR

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Camera trapping team at Phong Dien NR comprising Viet Nature staff and Phong Dien NR staff

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Large-spotted Civet Viverra megaspila (EN) first time recorded in Vietnam (only in Phong Dien). According to IUCN Red List, version 2016, this species is thought to have gone extinct in Vietnam and China.

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Owston’s Civet Chrotogale owstoni (EN) recorded in Phong Điền Nature Reserve.

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