Census of the endangered fishing cat species began in Odisha along the shores of Chilika lake

Bhubaneswar: In a first, a census of the endangered fishing cat species began in the State along the shores of Chilika lake on Wednesday. 100 camera traps deployed along the coast to find the population estimate.

The fishing cat census and survey are being conducted by the Chilika Development Authority (CDA), the Chilika Wildlife Division and local community. The counting would continue for a month.

The fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) is a wild cat species found primarily in wetland and mangrove ecosystems. It is spotted across south and south-east Asian countries.The fishing cat is listed in Schedule 1 (Part-I) as the vulnerable species under Indian Wildlife (Protection Act), 1972.

The populations of the species are threatened by destruction of wetland and declined over last decades. However, the wildlife researchers have no concrete evidence about range expansion of species.

Along with the Chilika shores, the fishing cat species that resembles tiger cub is found in Astarang, Konark, Balukhand Wildlife Sanctuary and Rajanagar areas in the State. For the first time, wildlife experts have come forward to ascertain presence of fishing cats in these regions.To carry out the counting of fishing cat populations, the CDA has divided Chilika shores into three zones, Sorana, Mangalajodi and Haridas in Brahmagiri. A community comprising locals has been formed to conduct census in these zones.