The Howrah Zilla Parishad has teamed up with an army of conservationists to save the fishing cat, the state animal of Bengal now considered an endangered species.
The Zilla Parishad has assured help to the conservationists, who had proposed to use the three-tier panchayat administration to raise public awareness on the endangered animal.
Though the numbers have been dwindling elsewhere in the state, Howrah is still home to a sizeable contingent of fishing cats.
“This is arguably the first time that all three tiers of the panchayat system will be used to save an endangered animal. Plans are afoot to form a Baghrol Bachao Committee (Save Fishing Cat Committee) in every village (in the Howrah Zilla Parishad area) to raise public awareness on the animal that now faces extinction,” Manas Basu, a top forest and land official of Howrah Zilla Parishad, told HT.
In Sri Lanka’s Kandy district, Ashan Thudugala and his team placed seven signboards along a road where he had previously recorded several fishing cat road kills. People are asked to drive carefully as fishing cats may cross the road.
Ashan shows more of his photos about the making and putting up of the signboards in his flickr album.
His project titled
“Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus): Monitoring home range and implementing conservation actions in the Gannoruwa forest”
Often overlooked in the shadow of its larger cousin, the tiger, the fishing cat is feeling the heat. Humans are closing in on its habitat, draining and polluting marshland and clearing the mangrove forests it needs for survival.
Poachers hunt the cats with relative impunity while local officials seem oblivious to their endangered status. Ajith Kumar of India’s National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) warns: “If killing continues like this, the species would become extinct very soon.”
Please tell the West Bengal Forest Department to set up a dedicated Fishing Cat Protection Force and prosecute poachers to the full extent of the law.
Thank you all for supporting Tiasa’s petition!! More than 5500 people from 49 countries signed. The fishing cat poachers have been arrested and taken to court on Thursday. West Bengal’s Chief Wildlife Warden promised to conduct regular awareness campaigns.
Fishing Cat distribution and their phylogeography in India by Shomita Mukherjee;
Fishing Cat camera trapping efforts in Java by Jim Sanderson;
Fishing Cat research and conservation in the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve by Prativa Kaspal;
Recent records of Fishing Cat in Thailand and the wider implications for assessing its status elsewhere in SE Asia by Will Duckworth;
Where the wild things are … are we looking in the right places? by Manori Gunawardena;
Fishing Cat conservation efforts in Kandy District, Sri Lanka by Ashan Thudugala;
Radio-collaring Fishing Cats in urban wetlands, Sri Lanka by Anya Ratnayaka;
Fishing Cats outside protected areas in the Nepal Terai by Sagar Dahal;
Status of the Fishing Cat in the Chitwan National Park by Rama Mishra;
Fishing Cat status and conservation in Assam, North-east India by Firoz Ahmed;
Challenges of Fishing Cat conservation outside protected areas in West Bengal, India, by Tiasa Adhya;
Distribution of Fishing Cats in the Indian Terai Arc Landscape by Meraj Anwar;
Status of the Fishing Cat in the Parsa Wildlife Reserve, Nepal by Bidhya Sharma;
Captive Fishing Cats in European zoos by Neville Buck;
Captive Fishing Cats in North America by Jilian Fazio;
Fishing Cat records in Vietnam by Daniel Willcox;
Identifying priority sites and conservation actions for the Fishing Cat in Cambodia by Nick Souter and Thaung Ret.
Fishing Cat Conservation Strategy workshop : two days
Field visit to Himalayan Nature’s Fishing Cat conservation project site : one day
We highly appreciate YOUR support for expenses, including travel of participants to the venue in south-eastern Nepal, accommodation and food, workshop material, and publication of symposium proceedings. Jim Sanderson kindly offered to collect your tax-deductable donations through the Wildlife Conservation Network. Please select: “Small Cats” in the drop down list.