Studying leopards, researchers find rare mongoose

The brown mongoose—a small carnivore species was spotted for the first time outside of their known territory—Virajpet in Kodagu district. (Img Source: Nature Conservation Foundation)

Setting out to study leopards in various forests of Karnataka by setting up camera traps, renowned wildlife conservationist Sanjay Gubbi and his team from the Nature Conservation Foundation were in surprise when they recorded Brown mongoose (Herpestes fuscus) in Biligiri Rangana betta Tiger Reserve (BRT) in Chamarajanagara recently.

The brown mongoose—a small carnivore species was spotted for the first time outside of their known territory—Virajpet in Kodagu district. Until then the species was never spotted anywhere across Karnataka other than the one taluk in Kodagu. Sharing details with DH, Sanjay Gubbi said, “The animal has a dark brown coat with fine stripes and black legs unlike its cousin the common grey mongoose which is greyish in colour. The brown mongoose also has a very bushy, conical tapering tail that distinguishes it from other mongooses.”

The researchers’ team, comprising Harish NS, Sandesha, Gnanendra, Ravi, Shravan Suthar, Amrita Menon and HC Poornesha, had set up multiple camera traps to record the movement of leopards for study and documentation purpose. “The animal is found only in Southern Western Ghats and Sri Lanka. In India other than Karnataka, they are spotted rarely in wet, evergreen forests of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The very presence other than the known habitat only suggests the salubrious population of these species in the wild,” said one of the researchers.

The mongoose feed on insects, crabs, small reptiles, rodents, earthworms and birds. Nocturnal in nature, these species are cryptic and not much documentation is available in the conservation circles including the population.  “While the threat perceptions are lower, other factors like the destruction of habitat, fragmentation of forest areas perhaps affecting the species.

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Studying leopards, researchers find rare mongoose

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