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Fishing Cat in Pakistan

In the late 19th century, the English naturalist William Thomas Blanford maintained that Fishing Cats occur in the Indo-Gangetic plain, extending as far as Sind, from where he had received a specimen procured from Sehwan (Blanford 1888–91). The city of Sehwan is located on the western banks of the Indus River, east of Manchar Lake.

In 1977, the British wildlife biologist Tom J. Roberts stated:

It is now very rare in Pakistan, which country forms the extreme western limit of its world distribution. It is mainly confined to the Indus riverine tract in its southern portions, with an occasional straggler in the extreme north east wandering down the Ravi or Sutlej Rivers. Animal exporters within the past four or five years captured specimens from Haleji and Kalri [Keenjhar] Lakes around Thatta as well as in some of the 'dhands' on the east bank of the Indus around Sujjawal. It appears still to survive precariously in the swamps around Jamroa Head in the east Nara (Karim Dad Junejo, pers. comm. 1973). A few still survive in the Indus riverine forests south of Sukkur (Mir of Khaipur, H. H. Murali Murad Talpur, pers. comm. 1973).
In the north eastern region of the Punjab a large male was killed 12 miles north of Lahore near Batapur by Mr. Krebb in 1968. Another male was shot by Major S. A. Khan near the Sutlej River beyond Kasur in 1966. R. D. Taber (1967) describing the mammals of Lyallpur region refers to a large cat killed in the reeds alongside the Chenab River in the early 1960s, believed to have been this species.
Southern Sind was the only stronghold of this cat in Pakistan, and it is now fast disappearing because of increased cultivation adjacent of the Indus river and the shrinking of inundation areas from that river. Increased human exploitation of remaining swamp areas, both by fishing and cattle grazing, with its attendant reed burning, has driven the Fishing Cat out of most of its former haunts.
Its skin is esteemed by the fur trade and this rare and interesting cat must be protected if it is to remain on the list of Pakistan's fauna.

During surveys conducted in June 2007 and January 2008, indirect evidences such as tracks, faeces and interviews with local residents suggested the presence of Fishing Cats at Chotiari Reservoir, Keenjhar Lake and Keti Bunder Wildlife Sanctuary (WWF Pakistan 2007).

In the following map, the anted markers show areas thought to have Fishing Cats. For further information about individual locations : click on the marker to zoom in.

References

  1. Blanford, W. T. 1888–91. Felis viverrina. The Fishing Cat. In: The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Mammalia. Taylor and Francis, London. Pages 76–77.
  2. Roberts, T. J. 1977. Mammals of Pakistan. Ernest Benn Ltd., London. Pages 151–153.
  3. WWF Pakistan — Indus for All Programme. 2007. Detailed Ecological Assessment of Fauna, including Limnology Studies at Chotiari Reservoir 2007 — 2008. WWF Pakistan, Karachi. Pages 105–106.

Suggested citation:

Appel, A. 2011. Fishing Cat in Pakistan. Fishing Cat Working Group.