Anya Ratnayaka wrote:
The Fishing Cat we collared was a translocated male. He was caught in a chicken coop in Ja-Ela and later transported to Colombo for collaring and release. Once released he manoeuvred through human dominated landscapes quite well — using storm drains, culverts, small patches of habitat to move from one place to another. He used backyards of houses to spend the morning, crossed a large river one evening, spent three days in a newly constructed park, which is quite a busy spot. He also spent a night behind a hair salon.
When he crossed one of the busiest junctions in Colombo at 5 AM, I thought that someone had gotten hold of his collar. I rushed to the location trying to see how he could have done this, and found that there is a large storm drain crossing this area. It was quite unbelievable.
He travelled very long distances during the nights, and never really stuck to wetlands, either crossing through them or walking around, which gave us the impression that he was being pushed out by resident cats. Many times I would not get a signal for weeks (GPS or VHF) only to find him pop up MILES away from the previous location. The lack of signal indicated his use of the numerous deep drainage systems here.
Now our next task is to capture a resident cat, which is proving to be very difficult! They are extremely sneaky and even with our home made trap active for 3 months we did not get any. This could have been because the trap was a little buggy though. So we are looking for funds to buy new traps, such as Tomahawk bob cat traps.
In the map below, the plain yellow markers point to some of the locations where Anya's collared Fishing Cat passed by or spent time.
Ashwin Naidu and his colleagues received a grant from the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund to study and conserve Fishing Cats in coastal wetlands of the Eastern Ghats in northern Andhra Pradesh, India. CONGRATULATIONS that you can finally start working!!
Permits are still being processed, but we had several productive field visits, meetings with local forest staff, and interviews with local people. Our latest achievement has been a collaboration with the EGREE Foundation, which works on community-based conservation near the Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary.
This article about (no) Fishing Cats in the Western Ghats was published today:
A Fishing Cat was hit by a motor vehicle and killed in the Padinoruwa Junction in the Himaduwa area in Galle, Sri Lanka. See also this video uploaded to YouTube.
Rare Video: Vandal Fishing Cats Lead to Wildlife Discovery published at National Geographic's Cat Watch.