The range of the Asian Fishing cat is shown in the customised, embedded Google map below. Please click on the following link (which opens in a new window) to go to the original map, which can be refined by anyone willing and able. The video in this section shows how to use Google My Maps.
The map shows how fragmented the distribution of this small wild cat is (it is about twice the size of an average domestic cat). The Sunquists in Wild Cats Of The World say that the fishing cat range is limited and discontinuous yet at the time of publication (2002) the range was lot more continuous and less limited than as indicated in the map below, which, by the way is accurately based on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. I think that it is better than the Red List map because it can be refined at will and at anytime. OK, the people doing the upgrading have to know what they are doing but I would rather some mistakes and discussion than the slo mo complacency that I feel is present in relation to all the wild cats.
In Pakistan the fishing cat was known to occupy, albeit in very low numbers, the Indus valley (marked with a blue flag above left on map). There are no recent confirmed sightings in this sector of the fishing cat range. Can someone living in the area assist and tell us if it has been seen? If so please mark it up on the map. I am told that “broadband access is now available in the major cities [of Pakistan]”.
The situation regarding sightings and knowledge of the whereabouts and status of this cat in the wild is patchy and frankly poor. There appears to be little or nothing in relation to recent sightings (meaning within the last few years). I would hope that some local people can come forward and update this map on the basis that some have internet access and computers. Am I dreaming!?
Conservation: Fishing cats are are classified as vulnerable on the World Conservation Union’s Red List of Threatened Species™. They are threatened by habitat loss, hunting for food and fur. In addition, people many wetland areas have been drained for farmland and roads.
Pollution from industries has poisoned rivers and streams where fishing cats once fed. Fishing cats, though, appear to do well in suburban habitats, so they may prove adaptable to human activities that some other species. This is born out by the sighting near Colombo. Perhaps this cat will become like the suburban fox. Perhaps to survive it will breed with the domestic cat to create hybrids as is the case with the Scottish wild cat.
Fishing cat range – sources:
- Wild Cats Of The World
- Smithsonian Institution
- IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™
More to come…..See more at Asian Fishing cat (new window).