Domestic cats may love to eat fish, but they certainly won’t venture into the water to catch one. Among their wild cousins, however, the flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps), which is endemic to Southeast Asia, is known to catch fish both from the shore and by fully submerging its head into the water. Closer home, we have a cat that is even more adept in the wetlands, with its water repellent fur and partially webbed feet – the fishing cat … Read More
Eurasian Otter Found in Chilika Lake, Odisha
The Eurasian Otter (Lutra lutra) is a Near Threatened otter species. While there is much research globally, little is known of its distribution in India, making a recent record from Chilika lake in Odisha significant.
We, at The Fishing Cat Project, stumbled upon this otter while searching for another wetland carnivore in Chilika – the Fishing Cat. Locals told us about the presence of ‘Uddho’ or otters in Chilika, but even they were not aware of the fact that two … Read More
An Electrocuted Fishing Cat, Howrah, West Bengal
A Fishing Cat was partially electrocuted at a pond in Baikunthapur village, of Haora (Howrah) district in West Bengal. The pond owner, along with some others, then killed the cat and sold off the meat. They then tried to destroy evidence by throwing away the head and skin of the cat in a nearby canal.
When informed of the incident, the Forest department carried out an investigation, which led to the recovery of the head of the cat. An … Read More
A Fishing Cat Kitten in the Sundarbans Tiger Reserve
Sundarbans in West Bengal has become popular for increased tiger sightings. However, the sighting of lesser cats, like the Leopard Cat and the Fishing Cat, still remains rare due to their nocturnal habits. In fact, the latter is one of the least seen mammals in Indian Sundarbans.
I had a fleeting glimpse of an individual in Feb 2017 basking in the early morning sun during a foggy winter morning. In Feb 2019, a few of us got to see a … Read More
Let’s get to know the Fishing Cat in February!
The Beautiful Baghrol – A Fascinating Feline
What is the state animal of West Bengal? Many of you may guess, Royal Bengal Tiger, because of the ‘Bengal’ in the name. Or you may remember Bengalis’ love for all things piscine, and say it is the fish! But you would be wrong again, for it is neither the tiger, nor the fish, but an animal associated with both – the fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), locally known as Baghrol or Macchbagha… Read More
A Community-based ‘Goat Bank’ for Fishing Cats in West Bengal
A community-owned and managed seed goat bank – this was what a local NGO, Sarada Prasad Tirtha Janakalyan Samity, started last year to decrease loss of goats due to fishing cat depredation.
Go-Bagha is one of the local names for the fishing cat. Go is rooted in Goru meaning Cow. According to a local myth, if a cow gives birth to a still-born calf, then the calf will be re-born as Go-Bagha.
Black Bengal goats (small country goats) weighing around … Read More
The Forgotten Wild Cats of the Eastern Ghats
The Northern parts of the Eastern Ghats in Andhra Pradesh are isolated hill ranges with elevations of up to 1500 metres altitude. This landscape complex, with its associated habitats such as dry deciduous forests, riparian buffers, inland freshwater bodies, tropical mangroves, and open scrub, spans across four districts in North Coastal Andhra. Apart from the well-known big cat species like the Tiger and Leopard, these forests are also home to lesser known and often neglected small wild cat species. The … Read More
The Endangered Fishing Cat, Howrah, West Bengal
The Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) is listed as Endangered in the IUCN Red List, and is a unique example of the great abilities and diversities of the felid family. Recent studies have shown that they are strongly linked to marshlands. Unfortunately, marshlands are considered to be “wastelands” under Indian land-use policies and are thus subjected to degradation and conversion, especially outside protected areas.
In West Bengal alone, where this image was taken, there has been a 44% decline in marshlands … Read More