The species has been spotted in the Coringa wildlife sanctuary near Kakinada

Fishing Cat, one of the endangered species at the global level, has been spotted in the Coringa wildlife sanctuary near Kakinada.

Thanks to the efforts made by the East Godavari Riverine Estuarine Ecosystem (EGREE) Foundation, a joint initiative of the government of Indian and the United Nations Development Project, the villagers abutting the Coringa mangroves have now stopped killing the fishing cats that are habituated to intrude into the residential areas in search of food.

Popularly known as ‘Neeti Pilli’ in the local parlance, the fishing cat is just double the size of domestic cat, it strongly prefers wetlands and most commonly lives in swamps and marshy areas. The researchers found that the population of fishing cats has been reduced by 50 per cent at the global level owing to fast destruction of the wetlands. The conservative biologists of the EGREE Foundation have started working on the cats’s census. Under the guidance of its Chief Executive Officer and Forest Service Officer S.S. Shridhar, the EGREE team installed over 60 cameras to track and capture the movements of the fishing cats. The records of the Andhra Pradesh Forest Census indicate that there is a sharp decline of 76 per cent in the population of fishing cats in the Godavari region in the last 10 years.

The research taken up by the EGREE team, however, indicated that the current number is 70. “It is very difficult to study the movements of fishing cats, as they are nocturnal. It took about a year for us to come to a conclusion over the figure,” says P. Satya Selvam, conservation biologist of the EGREE Foundation.

Members of the foundation launched an awareness drive to stop people from killing the fishing cats.