Space use and habitat selection of mammals are determined by the distribution and availability of critical resources. Such information on space use and habitat selection is necessary for the conservation and management of wild populations. We revealed the determinants of habitat use for 12 common palm civets (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) within a matrix of human-modified habitats in Sabah, Borneo. Although studies within natural forests have reported that space use of common palm civets is mainly determined by fruit availability, we hypothesized that space use in our study area might be affected by other factors because the habitat characteristics have been largely modified from those of natural habitats. Our results showed that, for both males and females, space use is largely affected by fruit availability. Specifically, the 95% minimum convex polygon home range was negatively affected by the presence of a fruit-rich oil palm plantation in the ranging area. In forest, civets increased home-range size during the fruiting season of specific pioneer plants; they visited the fruiting trees of those plants outside the ranging area of the nonfruiting season. However, availability of day-beds also influenced the ranging pattern of civets. During the day, civets used the oil palm plantation less frequently than expected from habitat availability and often retreated to adjacent forest or forest fragments. When resting in the plantation, they selected palm trees with dense mats of ferns and larger numbers of leaves, and often reused these trees. Our results indicate that fruit availability and suitable day-bed sites may be important for the survival of common palm civets in human-modified habitats and should be preserved or restored for civet conservation.
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Vol. 94 • No. 5