Hog Badger (Arctonyx collaris)

Description:

 

Range Description:

The Hog Badger occurs in Central to Southeast Asia. It is found in Mongolia, India (Sikkim, Terai, Assam, Arunacha Pradesh), throughout Southern China, Indochina (Vietnam, Lao PDR and Cambodia), Myanmar, in Indonesia (Sumatra), throughout Thailand and possibly in Perak, Malaysia (Lekagul and McNeely 1977; Duckworth 1997; Pocock 1941; Holden 2006; Roberton et al. in prep.; Than Zaw et al. in press). There is one isolated record in eastern Mongolia (Aimak Dornod) (Stubbe et al. 1998). According to Holden (2006) in Sumatra the hog badger appears to occur primarily above 2,000 m with one record at 700 m, and historical records also indicate a montane range (Miller 1942). Corbet and Hill's (1992) map suggest that on Sumatra the species is restricted to the southern part of the island, whereas, in fact, individuals have been found in many mountainous locations in the north as well (van Strien 2001).  In Lao PDR, most recent records are from the central part of the country, with some from the north, although historic records come also from the south (Duckworth 1997, Duckworth et al. 1999). There are recent indirect reports (unsubstantiated villager reports) from many survey areas in Lao PDR, but few documented records (R.J. Timmins and J.W. Duckworth pers. comm. 2006); in aggregate, these suggest that this species was present in the recent past, but has more or less been hunted out from quite wide areas (J.W. Duckworth in litt. 2006). Deuve (1972) considered that the species occurred in the southern region of Lao PDR, listing several lowland sites; however, Deuve’s Lao range information is often faulty (e.g. Timmins and Duckworth 1999), so this cannot be taken as complete confirmation the animal was formerly widespread in Lao lowlands. All seven records in 1992-1996 were from in and around the Nam Theun catchment at sites above 500 m (Duckworth 1997), while both historical sites listed by Delacour (1940) are in mountainous areas: Phongsali and the Bolaven Plateau. The post-1996 records are also from hills and mountains (Duckworth et al. 1999).
Countries: Native:
Bhutan; Cambodia; China; India (Assam); Indonesia (Sumatera); Lao People's Democratic Republic; Mongolia; Myanmar; Thailand; Vietnam

 Population:

 Population trends for the Hog Badger may vary across its range. In Lao PDR, this species can be locally common, as indicated by its presence during most surveys in and around the Nam Theun catchment (Duckworth et al. 1999). The lack of sightings elsewhere indicates that this species is either naturally patchy in abundance or under widespread decline (Duckworth et al. 1999). Occurrence in Myanmar is also patchy without obvious natural explanation (Than Zaw et al. in press). In Thailand, it is fairly common and found in both the north and the south (B. Kanchanaska pers. comm.). It is also very common in the high montane zone of Sumatra (Holden 2006), and in Southwestern and Eastern Cambodia (J. L. Walston and R. J. Timmins pers. comm.). In India, this species is fairly common in Terai. The Hog Badger is historically widespread in Vietnam, but sightings seem to be declining (Roberton et al. in prep.).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology:

 The Hog Badger is active by day, terrestrial, and not very wary of humans (Duckworth et al. 1999). This species if often referred to as nocturnal, however, analysis of numerous camera-trap pictures from Myanmar show no peak at either day or night; it can be active at any time (Than Zaw et al. in press). It is usually found in forested areas as high as 3,500 m, and it feeds on “tubers, roots, earthworms, insects, and other small living creatures” (Lekagul and McNeely 1977). Wang and Fuller (2003) conducted a study on the food habits of this species in a rural agricultural area of Southeastern China (Taohong Village, Jiangxi Province), and found that this species ate more mammals and gastropods than other species studied. Little is known about its breeding habits, though litter size seems to be two to three young, and individuals have lived up to seven years in captivity (Lekagul and McNeely 1977). In Lao PDR, the Hog Badger is found in forested areas, and mainly now on hills and mountains (Duckworth et al. 1999), however, this altitudinal restriction may be a secondary effect of over hunting. In contrast to Lao PDR, this species in Cambodia occurs in level lowlands, in mosaics of deciduous and semi-evergreen forests, which is a further line of supposition that its current Lao distribution reflects anthropogenic restriction.  In India, this species is fairly common within grassland habitats of Terai, as well as in dense, tropical evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, and tall grassland -woodland mosaic. In Thailand it is also found in rubber plantations adjacent to forests (B. Kanchanaska pers. comm.). In Myanmar, the Hog Badger has been recorded in forest including bamboo stands under tree cover (Than Zaw et al. in press), and it is also found in limestone forests in Vietnam (Roberton et al. in prep.). It mainly occurs in upper montane forest in Sumatra (Holden 2006).
Systems: Terrestrial

 Major Threat(s):

Major threats to the Hog Badger are hunting by dogs as well as snaring, primarily for human consumption and as by catch. In Lao, the palatability of hog badger varies among ethnic groups, with some groups disliking the taste, whereas groups in parts of the Nam Theun basin (and perhaps widely elsewhere) seek the species specifically for food (J. Baker pers. comm. and J. Chamberlain per. comm. in Duckworth et al. 1999). This species is also eaten by some groups in India, and is hunted as well as farmed for food in China (M.W.N. Lao pers. comm.). Field surveys in China generated very few records of wild animals in Southeastern China (M.W.N. Lao pers. comm.), and the species is also hunted at the local level in Vietnam (Roberton et al. in prep.). In all of Indochina, this species is threatened by the use of hunting dogs (J. Baker pers. comm. 1999).  The snaring intensity in Cambodia is considerably lower than that in Lao PDR and Vietnam, and the relatively larger number of recent records from Cambodia than from Vietnam and Lao PDR is strong indirect evidence that trapping levels are driving reductions in these latter countries. In Vietnam and presumably elsewhere, gun-hunting poses another threat to the species (Timmins et al. 1999).  While threats similar to those in Lao PDR and Vietnam are known to exist in Thailand, it is generally thought that the hunting is operating at much lower intensities and are therefore not as serious. In Sumatra as well, the threats are minimal, because the zone of occurrence is above where the majority of hunting takes place (Holden 2006)

Conservation Actions:

Throughout its range, this species is found in a number of protected areas. In Thailand this species is protected by law, and in India this species is protected under the highest level of protection. It is not protected in Vietnam or Cambodia and is the largest-bodied unprotected mammal, except for Eurasian Wild Hog Sus scrofa, in Myanmar (Than Zaw et al. in press). The China Red List has listed the hog badger as Vulnerable under C1 and A2c.

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