By Megan Gannon
With charismatic lions and leopards often stealing the spotlight, small predators in Central Africa sometimes get overlooked.
But with the help of camera traps, researchers recently got a better look at the tiny carnivores that populate Gabon's forests, including mongooses, civets and the notoriously fearless honey badgers.
The researchers surveyed 12 species of small predators for their study, using camera traps as well as studies of the bushmeat trade and field observations.
Among their findings, the researchers documented two of the carnivores for the first time in Gabon: the Cameroon cusimanse and the common slender mongoose. The Egyptian mongoose was also found 65 miles (105 kilometers) north of its previously known range.
The honey badger, meanwhile, had been considered rare in Gabon and the camera traps confirmed it has a patchy distribution in the country, recorded in just one region in central Gabon and one region on the coast.
"Many previous studies have focused on the larger species of Gabon's rainforests," study researcher Laila Bahaa-el-Din, of the conservation group Panthera, said in a statement. "None of these efforts have focused on the country-wide status and distribution of smaller predators, species that could be disappearing due to the bushmeat crisis sweeping through the region." More....