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Post at: Sep 15 2022

World’s First Fishing Cat Census

Recent context

  • In June 2022 a fishing cat census was conducted by Chilika Development Authority (CDA) in collaboration with The Fishing Cat Project (TFCP) in Chilika lake.
  • As per census, Chilika lake has 176 fishing cats.
  • This is the world’s first population estimation of the fishing cat, which has been conducted outside the protected area network.
  • Spatially Explicit Capture Recapture (SECR) method was used to analyse the data.

About Fishing Cats

  • Scientific Name: Prionailurus viverrinus 
  • Fishing cat is twice the size of a typical house cat and it is a feline with a powerful build and stocky legs. 
  • The size of an adult ranges from 57-78 cm and weighs between 5-16 kg.
  • The fishing cat is an adept swimmer and enters water frequently to prey on fish.
  • The fishing cat is nocturnal and apart from fish also preys on frogs, crustaceans, snakes, birds, and scavenges on carcasses of larger animals. 
  • It is capable of breeding all year round but in India its peak breeding season is known to be between March and May.
  • In 2012, the fishing cat was declared as the State Animal of West Bengal.
  • Habitat: Wetlands are the favorite habitats of the fishing cat. 
  • 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.
  • Fishing Cat is only found in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand though once the cat was widespread throughout Southeast and South Asia.
  • Protection Status:

    (a)     IUCN Red List- The fishing cat is listed as Endange-red on the IUCN Red List.
    (b)     CITES: The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) lists the fishing cat on Appendix II part of Article IV of CITES, which governs international trade in this species.
    (c)     Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: The fishing cat is included in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and thereby protected from hunting.
Chilika Lake

  • Chilika Lake is a brackish water lake and a shallow lagoon with estuarine character spread across the districts of Puri, Khurda and Ganjam in the state of Odisha in eastern India.
  • It is Asia’s largest  and world’s second largest lagoon.
  • It is the largest wintering ground for migratory waterfowl found anywhere on the Indian sub-continent.
  • In 1981, On account of its rich bio-diversity and ecological significance, Chilika was designated as the 1st "Ramsar Site" of India.
  • The Nalaban Island within the lagoon is notified as a Bird Sanctuary under Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • A 32 km long, narrow, outer channel connects the main lagoon to the Bay of Bengal, near the village Motto. 
  • 52 number of rivers and rivulets drain into Chilika Lagoon.




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