World Wildlife Day: The first-ever census of Chilika fishing cats begins

The Chilika Development Authority (CDA), the lake's governing authority, is conducting the survey in partnership with the Fishing Cat Conservation Alliance (FCCA), a non-profit organization.

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World Wildlife Day: The first-ever census of Chilika fishing cats begins

The first-ever survey of the elusive fisher cat in and around Asia’s largest saltwater lagoon, Chilika Lake in Odisha, will begin on March 1, 2021, according to officials.

The Chilika Development Authority (CDA), the lake’s governing authority, is conducting the survey in partnership with the Fishing Cat Conservation Alliance (FCCA), a non-profit organization.

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Local fisherman and wildlife advocates will work with the CDA on this first-ever survey. “As many as 100 video traps have been put on the lakeshore and in some surrounding regions.” “The sites where the concealed cameras have been deployed are those where fishing cats have previously been observed,” stated CDA Chief Executive Sushanta Nanda.

He claimed that the covert cameras had already filmed several fishing cats in the previous two days. The actual number of fishing cats in the lake had not previously been established, despite the fact that it was frequently spotted in various regions of the large lake.

The fishing cat is classified as ‘Endangered’ on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The Odisha government’s CDA named the fisher cat as the Chilika’s ambassador during the 2020 celebration of ‘Wildlife Week.’

The CDA has also launched the fishing cat project in partnership with the FCCA after discovering the globally endangered species in the blue lagoon, which spans over 1,100 square kilometres across three districts: Ganjam, Puri, and Khorda.

According to official authorities, as part of the effort, awareness of the animal’s conservation would be raised among locals and fishers.

In 2020, the state forest department will launch a two-year project to conserve the fishing cat in Bhitarkanika National Park.

“It is a welcome step to raise awareness about conservation measures at a time when this critically endangered species is under threat from multiple directions,” Biswajit Mohanty, secretary of the Wildlife Society of Odisha, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the protection of wild animals, said.

The fishing cat faces a serious threat from habitat loss caused by the degradation of wetlands. Furthermore, the animal is killed by individuals who mistakenly believe it is a juvenile tiger and thus dangerous, he claims.

Fishing cats are nearly double the size of domestic cat. According to a wildlife activist, they can be found in the marshy wetlands of northern and eastern India, as well as the mangroves of the east coast.

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World Wildlife Day: The first-ever census of Chilika fishing cats begins
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The Chilika Development Authority (CDA), the lake's governing authority, is conducting the survey in partnership with the Fishing Cat Conservation Alliance (FCCA), a non-profit organization.
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THE POLICY TIMES
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