The fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) is a secretive, Asian cat found near marshes and swamps of southern and southeastern Asia. It is a habitat specialist, and wetland habitat loss is considered its primary conservation threat. Relatively little natural history information exists for the fishing cat and its status in the wild is unclear, especially in Southeast Asia. Limited evidence, thus far, suggests that fishing cat populations are declining but further work is necessary to evaluate the cat’s status.
Current work in Thale Noi Non-Hunting Area, Pattalung Province, Thailand seeks to document and safeguard wild populations of fishing cats. Sign recognition and camera trapping techniques have been used to carry out focused surveys for fishing cat occurrence. The nature and extent of threats to the species are also being compiled, and the project is engaging residents and conservation staff in coordinated conservation measures.
This project will build upon work carried out between 2003-2007, to document the occurrence of fishing cats in a limited number of sites in Thailand. Previous work resulted in the detection (via photo-trap) of a fishing cat at a single site: Thale Noi Non-hunting Area in Southern Thailand. A detailed ecological investigation of fishing cats based on radio telemetry and camera trapping methods will be carried out at Thale Noi.
The Ulysses S. Seal Conservation Grant Program provided funding for this project in 2007 and 2009, to help purchase camera traps, film, and telemetry equipment. Staff champions are Maria Reedstrom and Fred Swengel, Tropics Zookeepers.