Binturong and Small clawed otter

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Binturong and Small clawed otter Blog Image


Recently, the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve in Assam has received the addition of two new mammalian species, the elusive binturong (Arctictis binturong) and the small-clawed otter.

About Binturong

  • It is the largest civet in India colloquially known as the bearcat.
  • Common names: Asian Bearcat and the Asian Civet.
  • Scientific name: Arctictis binturong
  • It is a generally solitary and nocturnal animal that spends the majority of its time moving about slowly and cautiously amongst the trees.
  • It has scent glands which are located just under its tail. These glands are used to mark trees and foliage to outline an individual’s territory. 
  • It belongs to the same family as other small carnivores including Civets, Genets, Mongooses, and Fossa.
  • The binturong is one of only two carnivores that has a prehensile tail. (The other is the kinkajou).
  • The prehensile tail acts almost like another leg helping both with climbing, and gripping onto branches to give the Binturong more stability.
  • Habitat: It is a medium sized carnivore that is found inhabiting the dense forests of South-East Asia.
  • Distribution: China, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and on the island of Borneo.
  • Conservation status
    • IUCN: Vulnerable
    • Wildlife Protection Act of 1972: Schedule I
    • CITES: Appendix III

Key facts about Small-clawed otter

  • It exhibits partially webbed feet and short claws, enhancing their adeptness as hunters in aquatic environments.
  • Distribution:
    • This mammal boasts a broad distribution range spanning from India eastwards to Southeast Asia and southern China.
    • In India, it predominantly inhabits protected areas in West Bengal, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and certain regions of Kerala within the Western Ghats.
  • Habitat: They are primarily found in freshwater habitats, sustaining themselves with a diet comprising fish and crustaceans.
  • Threats: Habitat destruction, deforestation, reduction in prey biomass etc.
  • Conservation status
    • IUCN: Vulnerable
    • Wildlife Protection Act of 1972: Schedule I
    • CITES: Appendix I

Q1) What is civet?

A civet is a small, lean, mostly nocturnal mammal native to tropical Asia and Africa, especially the tropical forests. The term civet applies to over a dozen different species, mostly from the family Viverridae.

Source: Kaziranga’s fauna enhanced as two new mammalian species enlisted