Taronga’s Research and Conservation Coordinator, Monique Van Sluys is currently in Nepal where Taronga is working with Himalayan Nature to protect key habitats for the endangered fishing cat.
Traditional habitat protection has not been successful in halting the loss and deterioration of wetland habitats and special conservation efforts are urgently needed to protect fishing cats.
Part of the Taronga Field Conservation Grants program, the project aims to identify and establish priority conservation areas for the fishing cat in Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, a Ramsar wetland in southern Nepal.
Here’s a quick update from Monique in Nepal:
In Kathmandu, I met the fishing cat project team, including Hem Baral, Prativa Kaspal from Himalaya Nature and Iain Taylor from Charles Sturt University.
After spending a day in Kathmandu, we flew to Biratnagar and then drove to Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve. My seat was on the left side of the plane and I had an amazing view of the Himalayas, including Mount Everest. Unfortunately the view was a little too hazy for good images.
Our activities so far have included setting up camera traps, which have already produced some good images of fishing cats. We’ve also been busy monitoring the river banks looking for footprints – finding several fishing cat footprints along a 7-8km section of the river – and talking to community members and fish farmers.
We're now further north at the research station of Himalaya Nature, the Kosi Bird Observatory.
I’ve had the opportunity to see wild water buffalo, fishing cats and the gangetic dolphin - all amazing creatures!
Despite a lack of infrastructure, Nepal is a beautiful country with strong and lively people.