Janvier AGLISSI (2017). Spatio-temporal use of habitat by civet (Civettictis civetta) and genets (Genetta spp.) in Pendjari Biosphere Reserve: Implications for conservation. Faculty of Agronomic Sciences of the University of Abomey-Calavi (Benin).
Supervisor : Dr Etotépé A. SOGBOHOSSOU.
Abstract: Small carnivores represent a major component of protected areas’biodiversity in West Africa. Despite their importance, their knowledge remains limited in Benin and West Africa. The African civet (Civettictis civetta) and genets (Genetta spp.), sympatric species of the Viverridae family are part of these neglected species that coexist in Pendjari Biosphere Reserve, Benin. The main purpose of the current study is to improve the knowledge of these species’ ecology in West Africa. Specific objectives are to: 1) assess habitats used by civet and genets, 2) identify anthropogenic and environmental factors which influence the habitat use, and 3) evaluate the spatio-temporal niche overlap in the Pendjari Biosphere Reserve. To achieve these goals, we surveyed 103 sites from November 2014 to April 2015. In each site, we set a camera trap composed of one infrared camera. Traps were installed on trees at diverse distance from roads, with 2 to 5 km between two consecutive traps. Cameras (Bushnell Trophy Cam HD, Moultrie M-990i infrared cameras and Scoutguard SG565 Flash Camera) were active 24 hours a day and stayed at each station 30 to 40 days. Pictures showed the date and time of caption. Pictures have been compiled with Camera Bases and data analyzed with Excel, PRESENCE and software R. For 3607 trapping days, we got 543 independent captures for at least 10 small carnivores. Trap success of small carnivores was globally 15 pictures by 100 trapping days with occupancy of 68%. Trap success of genets was 4.13 pictures by 100 trapping days against 2.52 for civet. Genets were best distributed in the reserve with a presence of 46%, and prefer the hunting zone of Pendjari. The civet was present in 30% of sampled sites and prefers the park. The distribution of civet is significantly influenced by the use type of zones while the proportion of the arboreal stratum and the distance to the village were the main factors influencing the distribution of genets in this area. We noticed a high temporal competition but low spatial competition between civet and genets because of the nearly complete overlap of their activity patterns showed by the Pianka overlap index (Ojk: 0.95). Our results suggest that traditional uses and anthropic activities are main threats to civet and genets conservation. It is therefore necessary to initiate measures to control and limit these pressures in order to guarantee their sustainable management in this protected area.
Keywords: Small carnivores, habitat use, cameras traps, niche overlap