Meet the fishing cat: Protecting this shy species will save our precious wetlands

Source: Times of India

What is the news?

Around 87% of world’s wetland ecosystem have been lost due to anthropogenic activities threatening wildlife species such as fishing cat.

About Fishing Cat:
  • The fishing cat is one of only two animals among the 40 odd members of the cat family which can survive in wet landscape
Fishing cat
Source: TOI
  • It is the top predator of the wetland ecosystem
  • Fishing cat has double-layered coat which keeps its skin from getting wet.
  • The fishing cat is the state animal of West Bengal.
  • Conservation status:
    • Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
    • IUCN status: It is listed as “vulnerable (VU)” under IUCN red list
    • CITES status: The fishing cat is included on CITES Appendix II
  • Habitat– It prefers wetland ecosystem and traditionally found in the South and Southeast Asia’s rivers such as Ganga, Brahmaputra, Godavari, Krishna, Irrawaddy and Chao Phraya.
  • Threat– Shrinking of wetland ecosystem, marshes, mangrove, and grassland has emerged as biggest threat.
  • The fishing cat is etched on the 900-yearold Angkor Wat complex in Cambodia and captured on relics of the Khmer empire, which flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries on the mighty Mekong’s floodplains.
  • Chilika, Asia’s largest brackishwater lagoon, is home to a viable fishing cat population, the lake’s strategic location, between the two protected areas of the Bhitarkanika and Coringa wildlife sanctuaries, playing an important role in maintaining the species along India’s eastern coast. In 2020, the Chilika Development Authority (CDA), the government body in charge of preserving India’s oldest Ramsar site, declared the fishing cat Chilika’s
    ambassador.
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