Biodiv Sci ›› 2023, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (2): 22294.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2022294

• Original Papers: Animal Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Diel activity, habitat utilization, and response to anthropogenic interference of small Indian civets (Viverricula indica) in Shanghai urban areas based on camera trapping

Yihan Wang, Qianqian Zhao, Yixin Diao, Bojian Gu, Yue Weng, Zhuojin Zhang, Yongbin Chen, Fang Wang*()   

  1. Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering, School of Life Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai 200438
  • Received:2022-06-01 Accepted:2022-08-08 Online:2023-02-20 Published:2022-11-11
  • Contact: *Fang Wang, E-mail:


Aims: Rapid urbanization processes have brought great challenges to the conservation of urban biodiversity. The small Indian civet (Viverricula indica) is a national first-class key protected wild animal, yet ecological research about its wild populations in urban environments is rare. The aims of this study are to: (1) understand how small Indian civets respond to stray cats and human activities in time and space in urban landscapes; (2) investigate the habitat characteristics of small Indian civets in a human-dominated landscape; and (3) evaluate habitat changes of small Indian civets during the time period of 2000-2020.

Methods: We used infrared camera traps to investigate the small Indian civets in the urban environment. From June 2020 to October 2021, we conducted camera trap surveys at 25 sites in the Xinjiangwan area, Yangpu District, Shanghai. We conducted individual identification, and then analyzed species diel activity pattern and measured the overlapping index and calculated the avoidance-attraction ratios between small Indian civets and stray cats and humans, respectively. In addition, we calculated the relative abundance index (RAI) of humans, stray cats, and birds, and used an independent sample t-test to test the site differences where small Indian civets were detected and not detected. Lastly, we utilized remote sensing data to analyze the landscape changes of small Indian civet habitat during the time period of 2000-2020.

Results: We have achieved a sampling effort of 1,581 camera days, and obtained 65 independent small Indian civet detections at night sites. We identified 5 small Indian civet individuals. The diel activity pattern of small Indian civet was strictly nocturnal, with two nighttime activity peaks around 21:00 and 02:00. The temporal overlap index of small Indian civet and human activities was 0.15, and that of stray cats was 0.66. The avoidance-attractive ratio between small Indian civet and stray cats was 9.94 ± 7.84. Human activity at sites where small Indian civets were detected was significantly less than that of the sites where the species was not undetected (t = -2.539, P = 0.021). Landscape analysis results indicated that most of the green space was replaced by artificial landscapes, and the degree of fragmentation and isolation increased during the past two decades.

Conclusion: Small Indian civets demonstrate spatial and temporal avoidance to human activities and stray cats. The existing landscapes that are potentially suitable for small Indian civet are fragmented, and immediate actions are needed to conserve the remaining small Indian civet population in urban landscapes.

Key words: small Indian civet, camera trapping, diel activity pattern, habitat selection, urban biodiversity