BHUBANESWAR: Chilika lake, Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon, is house to round 176 fishing cats, the just lately concluded first fishing cat estimation research has discovered. Touted to be the world’s first inhabitants estimation of the fishing cat outdoors the protected space community, the enumeration was carried out by the Chilika Improvement Authority (CDA) in collaboration with The Fishing Cat Mission (TFCP).
The full variety of the Schedule-I species was discovered to be within the vary of 131-237 through the survey. The estimation was performed in two phases. Section-I used to be performed in 2021 within the 115 sq km marshland current within the north and north-eastern part of Chilika and its surrounding areas, whereas Section II was performed in 2022 within the Parikuda facet together with the coastal islands of Chilika.
As many as 150 digicam traps had been deployed for almost 30 days and Spatially Specific Seize-Recapture (SECR) technique was used to analyse the info.“Local fishermen and villagers of Chilika were the primary participants in this exercise. Without their support, the first such population estimation outside protected areas on this globally threatened cat species wouldn’t have been possible,” mentioned Chief Government of CDA Susanta Nanda.
Ten graduate and post-graduate college students additionally volunteered through the train, whereas Chilika Wildlife Division employees facilitated and took part within the inhabitants estimation, mentioned TFCP co-founder Partha Dey.
“Tracking specialist species such as the fishing cat gives us an indication of what might be happening to the wetland ecosystems, which are considered major safeguards against climate change and droughts,” mentioned one other TFCP co-founder Tiasa Adhya.
The cat is a globally threatened species present in marshlands, mangroves, flooded forests and different wetlands. They’re present in 10 Asian international locations however have remained untraced in Vietnam and Java for greater than a decade.
An adept swimmer and twice the scale of a home cat, the feline has been designated as ambassador of Chilika since 2020. Earlier this yr, the CDA had declared its intent to undertake a five-year motion plan for fishing cat conservation in Chilika. It’s also planning to share a fishing cat motion plan which is socio-ecological in essence.
“We have already begun a year-long patrolling and monitoring programme on the cat and its sympatric species. Apart from upscaling it, we will promote traditionally harvested wetland products to prevent wetland conversion and also encourage small-scale experiential and educative wetland tourism in the region,” mentioned the CDA chief.