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Monday, March 19, 2012

newly discovered species killed by speeding vehicle

an adult ferret killed on the spot. Pic RMNP

With such road kills taking place elsewhere in the country, there are chances that some species may go extinct even before they are discovered

A year after the small-toothed Ferret Badger also known as the Chinese Ferret Badger was first discovered in Bhutan, the Royal Manas National Park (RMNP) officials have discovered the first death case of this mammal.
Speaking to Business Bhutan, the Chief Forestry Officer of the RMNP, Tenzin Wangchuk, said an adult member of this species was found lying dead on a road.
“It was run over by a speeding vehicle,” said Tenzin Wangchuk.
He said the mammal was found dead just outside the park territory. “Even though these mammals were known to live in the region, we just discovered the mammal’s presence in Bhutan just a year ago,” he added.
The mammal was first discovered in Bhutan in March 2010 by a research team from the Ugyen Wangchuk Institute for Conservation and Environment and the Royal Manas National Park. It was caught in one of the traps set during a mammal survey training in RMNP.
After it was discovered the team closely monitored its habitat within and adjoining park boundaries to assess its population and distributions.
“It has just been a year after its discovery and not many studies have been carried out to determine its population in Bhutan,” he said.
He said with the expansion of the road networks and increasing traffic, more incidents of road kills are observed on highways inside and outside the protected areas.
Roads cause both positive and negative impacts inside the protected areas. While the roads merely provide access to monitor habitat and wildlife and wildlife population, they also form ecological barriers for movement of wildlife.
The RMNP says wildlife-vehicular collisions are proving fatal for conservation of many fauna species.
“Habitat loss due to various developmental activities including roads is one of the major threats to the conservation of bio-diversity and survival of the animal,” states a press release from the RMNP.
Tenzin Wangchuk said the only way to help these mammals is to create awareness among the people.
“At the moment, we can only create awareness among the people and ask them to help protect our wildlife species,” he said.
It is also not known how much of the road kills draw attention of the road users but the RMNP says their observation reveals that such incidents are frequent in the adjoining park areas.
Many of the incidents go unrecorded, as they say they do not have a reporting system in place.
A RMNP official said, “No matter how many new records we add to our biodiversity list, with such road kills taking place elsewhere in the country, there are chances that some species may go extinct even before they are discovered.
There are four types of ferret badgers which include the Chinese, the Burmese, the Javanese and Everett’s. The small-toothed ferret badger lives in burrows or crevices and is active at dusk and at night. It is also a good climber and feeds on fruit, insects, small animals and worms. The female gives birth to a litter of up to 3 young in May or June. The average body size of the Chinese ferret-badger is 33 to 43 centimeters with a tail of 15 to 23 centimeters.

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