Thursday, 18 August 2016

Out of sight, out of mind: Asia’s elusive Fishing Cat in trouble

11 August 2016 / Sean Mowbray

The Endangered Fishing cat is rarely seen — with only about 3,000 perhaps left in the wild — but this adaptable wetlands survivor has lately been caught on-camera raiding urban fishponds.

Fishing cats have a broad but discontinuous range, including wetland areas of mainland Asia (India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and perhaps Malaysia), as well as the islands of Sri Lanka and maybe Java. But these small nocturnal wild cats are rarely seen. Habitat loss has caused a drastic decline, and as few as 3,000 may remain in the wild.

Fishing cats are prestigious swimmers, love the water, and eat mostly fish, but they also eat just about anything that they can catch, including birds, snakes, frogs, insects, terrestrial mammals such as civets and rodents, along with domestic livestock such as ducks and chickens.

While primarily wetland species, Fishing cats have recently proven to be quite adaptable, and the animals have been discovered making night time raids on fishponds in the highly urbanized city of Colombo, Sri Lanka, population 650,000+.

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