Pugmark and scat evidence of elusive mammals at Maduru Oya, Sri Lanka: A preliminary study
Keywords:Mammals, Paw prints, Animal faeces, Maduru Oya, Sri Lanka
Pugmark and scat identification are indirect methods of mammal observation in the wild less popular than camera trapping and GPS collaring and is an understudied field of research in Sri Lanka with limited reference resources and no research publications so far. However, this is not the same in many other countries where mammals are studied in the wild. Therefore, we conducted a preliminary study in February and March 2021 at a selected location in the dry zone of Sri Lanka with the aim of identifying elusive mammals by pugmarks and scat evidence. We identified a total of 13 mammals, 9 by pugmarks of which 8 belonged to the family Carnivora and 1 Proboscidea. We also identified 4 mammals by scat of which 2 belong to the family Carnivora, 1 Proboscidea, and 1 Lagomorpha. Among them are 4 nationally endangered and 1 nationally vulnerable species. We report the presence of the nationally endangered Prionailurus viverrinus (Fishing cat) both by pugmark and scat evidence previously not recorded at our study site. We also report pugmark evidence of Viverricula indica (Small Indian civet) which has not been previously reported at our study site. In addition, we report the visual observation of the nationally vulnerable and rare Rhinolophus beddomei (Lesser woolly horseshoe bat) also previously not reported at our study site.
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