Biogeography of the Egyptian mongoose Herpestes ichneumon (Linnaeus, 1758) in Africa, with first records for Laikipia County, central Kenya
Dedan K. Ngatia, Paul W. Webala, Mugo J. Mware, Thomas M. Butynski, Yvonne A. de Jong, Adam W. Ferguson (2021). African Journal of Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/aje.12830
Abstract: The paucity of studies on Egyptian mongoose Herpestes ichneumon (Linnaeus, 1758) in Africa highlights the need for baseline information on the geographic range of this species as well as factors that may determine its distribution. This study presents eight novel locality records of H. ichneumon in Laikipia County, central Kenya, addresses questions on the species’ distribution in Africa, and predicts environmental (climatic) suitability across its range. From a total of 4,822 H. ichneumon occurrence records, we used 4,432 georeferenced records to generate distribution maps, conduct ecological niche modelling, and identify environmental limits for this species across its range with a focus on Africa. 20% of all records originate from continental Africa, including 121 records for Kenya. Despite extensive field research and predicted habitat suitability, H. ichneumon has not been previously reported in Laikipia County. Our niche models, however, predicted parts of Laikipia to be environmentally suitable for H. ichneumon. Similarly, our new distribution maps show extended geographic ranges both in Laikipia and Kenya as compared to the 2016 IUCN map. The eight Laikipia records underscore the limited knowledge for this species, its distribution, and its environmental requirements in Africa.
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