Like most cats, the fishing cat lives solitarily in the wild, but unusually is very comfortable in the water – swimming long distances, and clearly hunting in the water. As important predators of their habitats fishing cats are important in maintaining ecosystem health and health. They are classed as globally endangered and their decline is accelerating but their diet is varied and flexible which provides hope for the future of the species if the primary threats of habitat destruction and hunting can be addressed.
Traditional habitat protection mechanisms have not been successful in halting the loss and deterioration of wetland habitats. Increasing human populations place escalating demands on wetland resources, requirements for new farmland and aquatic pollution. Special conservation efforts are urgently needed to protect the species. This project will identify and establish priority conservation areas for the fishing cat in Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, a Ramsar wetland in southern Nepal. Local communities will be engaged immediately to protect both fishing cats, their whole aquatic environment while also benefitting local communities by increasing harvestable fish populations and ecotourism.
Himalayan Nature was founded in 2000, and is an international conservation research institute, initiating scientific research on Himalayan floral and faunal diversity and the broader environment. It is an independent, not-for-profit organization actively working on emerging issues related to the conservation of natural resources, and the improvement of living conditions of people in the Himalayan region.
What can you do? Overfishing and the use of unsustainable fishing practices impacts on wildlife all over the world, including here in Australia. Some types of seafood are better choices to eat as they are generally fast growing and breeding, and are caught or farmed in a sustainable way. Check with the Marine Stewardship Council for the most sustainable fish in your region.