Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon contains 176 fishing cats (TFCP)

According to a census conducted by the Chilika Development Authority (CDA) in partnership with the Fishing Cat Project, the Chilika Lake, Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon contains 176 fishing cats (TFCP). This is the first time a fishing cat population has been estimated outside of a protected area network.

About twice the size of a typical house cat, the fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) is a feline known to even dive to catch fish. Wetlands are the favorite habitats of the fishing cat.

They are found in 10 Asian countries but have stayed undetected in Vietnam and Java for the last decade or so.

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.

The globally threatened cats are found in wetlands in major South and Southeast Asian river basins starting from the Indus in Pakistan to the Mekong in Vietnam and in Sri Lanka and Java.

The fishing cat is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) lists the fishing cat in Appendix II part of Article IV of CITES. In India, the fishing cat is included in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.