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Physiological implications of life at the forest interface of oil palm agriculture: blood profiles of wild Malay civets (Viverra tangalunga)

Evans, Meaghan N, Guerrero-Sanchez, Sergio, Kille, Peter ORCID:, Muller, Carsten ORCID:, Abu Bakar, Mohd Soffian and Goossens, Benoit ORCID: 2020. Physiological implications of life at the forest interface of oil palm agriculture: blood profiles of wild Malay civets (Viverra tangalunga). Conservation Physiology 8 (1) , coaa127. 10.1093/conphys/coaa127

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Agricultural development is a major threat to global biodiversity, and effective conservation actions are crucial. Physiological repercussions of life alongside human-modified landscapes can undermine adaptable species’ health and population viability; however, baseline data are lacking for many wildlife species. We assessed the physiological status of a generalist carnivore, the Malay civet (Viverra tangalunga), persisting within an extensively human-modified system in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. We characterized hematology and serum biochemistry panels from civets sampled across a mosaic landscape comprising tropical forest fragments and oil palm plantations. Intra-population variation in certain blood parameters were explained by expected biological drivers such as sex, age category and sampling season. Furthermore, we determined several erythrocyte measures, immune cell counts and dietary biochemistry markers significantly varied with proximity to oil palm plantation boundaries. These findings were supported by a case study, whereby blood profiles of GPS collared male civets were contrasted based on their exclusive use of forests or use of oil palm plantations. These data provide robust and valuable first insights into this species’ physiological status and suggest agricultural landscapes are impacting the persisting population.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (
Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP): Policy Q / Oxford University Press
ISSN: 2051-1434
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 7 December 2020
Date of Acceptance: 3 December 2020
Last Modified: 06 May 2023 00:01

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