What is the News?
The first-ever survey of the fishing cats in and around the Chilika lake in Odisha started.
About Fishing Cat:
- Fishing cats are elusive nocturnal mammals. It is almost twice the size of the house cat.
- They are generally found in the marshy wetlands of northern and eastern India and on the mangroves of the east coast.
- Threats: The loss of habitat due to the destruction of wetlands is a major threat to the fishing cat. Besides, the animal is also killed by people under the wrong assumption that it is a juvenile tiger and thus dangerous.
About the Fishing Cat Survey:
- Conducted by: Chilika Development Authority(CDA) is conducting the survey in collaboration with the Fishing Cat Conservation Alliance(FCCA).
- Fishing Cat Conservation Alliance is a team of conservationists, researchers, and enthusiasts. It is working to achieve functioning floodplains and coastal ecosystems to ensure the survival of the fishing cat.
- Process: Local fishermen along with wildlife activists will be assisting in the survey. They will install camera traps around the lake shore and nearby areas where fishing cats were sighted earlier.
Initiatives taken by Odisha Government for Fishing Cat Conservation:
- Ambassador of Chilika Lake: The Odisha government designated Fishing Cats as ambassadors of the Chilika during ‘Wildlife Week’ in 2020.
- Fishing Cat Project: CDA in collaboration with FCCA has launched a fishing cat project. It will spread awareness among the local people and fishermen for animal’s conservation,
- The Odisha forest department launched a two-year project for the conservation of the fishing cat in the Bhitarkanika National Park in 2020.
About Chilika Lake:
- Location: Chilika Lake is a brackish water lagoon. It spreads over the Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Odisha. The lake is located at the mouth of the Daya River flowing into the Bay of Bengal.
- Significance: It is Asia’s largest and world’s second-largest lagoon after The New Caledonian barrier reef.
- Migratory Birds: The lake is the largest wintering ground for migratory waterfowl found anywhere on the Indian subcontinent.
- Ramsar Sites: In 1981, Chilika Lake became the first Indian wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
- Temple: Kalijai Temple is located on an island in Chilika Lake. It is considered to be the abode of the Goddess Kalijai.
- Bird Sanctuary: The Nalabana Island (Forest of Reeds) covering about 16 Sq. km of the Chilika lake declared a bird sanctuary in 1987.
- Fauna: The major attraction at the Chilika lake is Irrawaddy dolphins.
Source: Down To Earth