Fishing Cat

Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary

  • It is a wildlife sanctuary located in Andhra Pradesh.
  • It falls in Krishna and Guntur districts.
  • With an area of 194.8 km, it lies between the Bay of Bengal and the Krishna river.
  • It is one of the rarest eco-regions in the world because it harbours vast tracts of pristine mangrove forest.
  • In 1998, it was declared as wildlife sanctuary and since then no survey on the fauna had been carried out.
  • In 2014-16, a pilot project was carried out in which 15 fishing cats were recorded.
  • Population of fishing cat has increased in KWS due to the conservation of the mangroves.
  • As per the Forest Report 2015, there has been a net increase of 17 sq. km. of mangrove forest cover in Krishna district since 2013.

 

Status Survey

  • To have an authentic data on presence of the wildlife is the need of an hour to prepare conservation strategies.
  • Thus, a six-month status survey is being carried out by installing camera traps in the most strategic 20 wildlife grids.
  • The survey will proceed by carrying out Fishing Cat census.
  • It also includes geo-tagging of the wildlife, particularly the fishing cat.

 

Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus)

  • It is a feline with a powerful build and stocky legs.
  • It is about twice the size of a typical house cat and is nocturnal in nature.
  • It is an adept swimmer and enters water frequently to prey on fish.
  • Apart from fish, it also preys on frogs, crustaceans, snakes, birds and scavenges on carcasses of larger animals.

 

Habitat

  • Wetlands are the favourite habitats of the fishing cats.
  • In India, fishing cats are mainly found in the mangrove forests of the Sundarbans, on the foothills of the Himalayas along the Ganga and Brahmaputra river valleys and in the Western Ghats.
  • It is a state animal of West Bengal.

 

Threats

  • Some of the threats faced by the fishing cats are:
  1. Destruction of wetlands
  2. Depletion of its main prey-fish due to unsustainable fishing practices
  3. Poaching (for its skin)
  4. Indiscriminate trapping, snaring and poisoning

 

Status

  • On IUCN red list, it is classified as ‘Vulnerable’.
  • On Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) lists, it is placed in  Appendix II part of Article IV.
  • In India,it is included in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and thereby protected from hunting.
Section : Environment & Ecology

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