Fishing Cat

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 31, 2022, 8:43

The Fishing Cat is a South and Southeast Asian medium-sized wild cat. It can be found mostly in marshes, wetlands, and mangroves. The Fishing Cat is West Bengal's state animal, and it is categorized as 'Vulnerable' on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN).

Why in News

The Fishing Cat Conservation Alliance just launched a global make people aware about Fishing Cat preservation.

The Fishing Cat Conservation Alliance is a group of environmentalists, researchers, and conservationists aiming to guarantee that alluvial plains and coastal areas operate properly, ensuring the Fishing Cat's survival.

Characteristics of Fishing Cat

  • The scientific name of the Fishing Cat is 'Prionailurus viverrinus'.
  • The Fishing Cat is a strong feline with stocky legs(having a short and solid form or stature) that is roughly twice as large as a conventional house cat.
  • It is a skilled swimmer who regularly enters the water to hunt fish, as the name implies.
  • It has even been observed diving to grab fish.
  • It is nocturnal and feeds on crabs, birds, frogs, snakes, and corpses of larger animals in addition to fish.
  • It can reproduce all year; however, the peak breeding season in India is believed to have between March to May.

The behaviour of the Fishing Cat

As a nocturnal animal, the Fishing Cat is most active at night. It can swim great distances and is widely observed in lakes and rivers. Fishing Cats, both male and female, are solitary creatures.

While foraging around the borders of water sources, Fishing Cats have been seen catching food from the water bodies or swimming in to catch animals farther away from the banks. Fish is their primary food. Fishing Cat also consumes small rodents, insects, birds, snakes, etc.

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Where can the Fishing Cat be found?

The Eastern Ghats contain a spotty distribution of Fishing Cats. They are abundant in freshwater environments inland, coastal floodplains, and tidal mangrove forests.

The Fishing Cats can be found in Sundarbans mangrove forests, Odisha's Chilika lagoon, and adjoining wetlands, as well as Andhra Pradesh's Coringa and Krishna mangroves.

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Fishing Cat - Major Threats

  • The degradation of wetlands, which are the fisher cat's natural territory, is one of the most serious dangers species face.
  • The majority of India's wetlands are under threat as a result of social expansion, wastewater irrigation, contamination, and wood-cutting.
  • The reduction of the Fishing Cat's primary prey-fish as a result of overfishing techniques is another issue.
  • It is also hunted for its skin on rare occasions.

Steps Taken for Fishing Cat Conservation

  • The Fishing Cat Conservation Alliance has begun research on the Fishing Cat's bio-geographical existence in the unregulated and human-dominated environments of Andhra Pradesh's northeastern Ghats.
  • The Fishing Cat was designated as the State Animal of West Bengal in 2012. The Calcutta Zoo has two large facilities exclusively dedicated to them.
  • Many Organizations and animal conservation societies in Odisha are working on the protection and conservation of the Fishing Cat.
  • Initiated in 2010, the Fishing Cat Project, raised awareness about the Cat in West Bengal.

To conclude, larger conservation efforts are required to counteract the fisher cat's fast population decline due to the loss of its natural wetland habitats. It is also critical to stop indiscriminate capturing, catching, and poisoning.

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FAQs on Fishing Cat

Q1. Where is the Fishing Cat found in India?

Fishing Cats are mostly found in Ganga and Brahmaputra river basins, Sundarbans mangrove forests and the Western Ghats.

Q2. What is the IUCN status of the Fishing Cats?

On the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Fishing Cat is classified as 'Endangered.'

Q3. What is the scientific name of a Fishing Cat?

Prionailurus viverrinus is the Fishing Cat's scientific name.

Q4. How many Fishing Cats are left in the world in 2021?

The world's population of Fishing Cats is estimated to be less than 10,000.