The Sulawesi civet Macrogalidia musschenbroekii is endemic to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, where it is the largest mammalian predator. Limited field data means that little is known about the species’ distribution, habitat preferences, conservation status and needs, but it is believed to depend on primary forest. We conducted camera-trap surveys across the forests of North Sulawesi, including in two of its main protected areas: Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park and Tangkoko Nature Reserve. From 148 camera trap stations and 10,371 trap nights, Sulawesi civets were recorded 17 times at 12 stations, and in almost equal numbers in primary forest, secondary forest and farmland, including the first photographic records from both the National Park and Nature Reserve. We also collected data on the Malay civet Viverra tangalunga, an introduced species of Viverridae and potential competitor. Our records (n = 21) revealed that it is established in secondary forest; it only co-occurred twice with the Sulawesi civet. With a lapse of > 20 years since the last field record of the Sulawesi civet, our findings offer new insight into its status and new enthusiasm within the provincial government for its conservation, which has led to an extension of camera-trap research into neighbouring Gorontalo province.