According to Science News, a recent study in Mammalia provides a deep-dive — pun intended — into the Fishing Cat, also known as Prionailurus viverrinus.
From Asia, the big cat species stealthily hunts in both deep and shallow water, prowls swamps and marshes, and alternates its strategy for maximum fish catching.
If you’re trying to convince a spouse who loves fishing to get a cat, this might be the study to show them.
Tiasa Adhya’s Fishing Cat Project
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Study co-author, Tiasa Adhya, says that this is “the first detailed look at how the fishing cat hunts.” Adhya is one of the most prominent experts on this particular species.
Prior to Adhya’s project, the species was among the least-studied of all felines. In order to rectify this, Adhya launched Know Thy Neighbor. In areas surrounding fishing cat habitats off of India’s east coast, she trained locals to install cameras and conduct research.
From all of the footage collected, Adhya and Divyajyoti Ganguly, a student from the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, authored their study. The research was collected from 197 videos taken from 2016 to 2018.
One of the study highlights includes how the felines fully submerge into deep water and wait patiently for the right opportunity to strike.
Conversely, though, in shallow water, they know that the water won’t demand as much of their energy. They’re far more active and patrol the water’s edge as opposed to submerging into it.
These different approaches to hunting make these cats experts at fishing.
An Effort To Increase Interest In Conversation
Wildlife ecologist, Jim Sanderson, director of the Small Wild Cat Conservation Foundation, says this insight “expands and elaborates on our understanding of the fishing cat’s semiaquatic nature.”
Such a study and understanding will hopefully increase interest in conservation. According to Science News, there are only ten countries where this feline exists, and not one has a national count.
They are classified by the Union for the Conservation of Nature as a vulnerable species.
“Living off fish inevitably brings fishing cats into conflict with people doing the same thing,” Sanderson says. “That’s why fishing cat conservation means working with the local people.”
Have you heard of the fishing cat before? What do you think of this new research and the conservation efforts? Let us know in the comments below.