Fishing Cats Bhitarkanika UPSC

Fishing cats | Bhitarkanika | UPSC


Odisha starts project to conserve Bhitarkanika fishing cats

      WHY IN NEWS:

The nocturnal species are not easy to trace; no exact ecological data on their population at the park

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Conservation of Biodiversity : IUCN


For PRELIMS note down the key points such as IUCN status , CITES and the habitat .


The Odisha forest department has started a two-year conservation project for fishing cats in Bhitarkanika National Park in Kendrapara district.  

Fishing CATS IUCN status


  • The species is listed as ‘endangered’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List.
  • This means it faces a high threat of extinction in the wild.


  • Plan includes mapping the region.
  • Survey of the cat population.

A census to find out the exact numbers of the fishing cat — a nocturnal species that is not easy to trace — will be conducted during night-time.

  • No exact ecological data on the population of the fishing cat in the park is available as of now.
  • In 2019, during a mammal census in Bhitarkanika, only 20 fishing cats were spotted.


Fishing cats hunt fish and crustaceans for food. 


  • CITES : The United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) lists the fishing cat on Appendix II in Article IV of CITES.#governs international trade .
  • WLPA 1972 : The species is also classified under the first schedule of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

  Offences under the first schedule attract the maximum penalties under the law.


  • Fishing cats hunt fish and crustaceans for food from the park’s water bodies.
  • They dive in to catch prey with their hooked claws.

  They spend most of their lives in areas of dense vegetation close to water bodies and are excellent swimmers.


  A major threat for fishing cats is the destruction of wetlands, their preferred habitat.

  • They can also hunt livestock and poultry in villages near forests and have also known to encroach human habitations.
  • The prawn mafia in the area have reportedly destroyed aquatic ecologies by converting wetlands and mangrove forests into prawn farms.
  • Fishing cats earlier roamed in these areas for fish.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

Abundant fish in rivers and creeks due to a fishing ban and relatively larger distances from human habitation, however, has reduced such conflicts around Bhitarkanika.

     SOURCES:DownToEarth | Fishing cats | Bhitarkanika | UPSC

DISCOVER MORE : Important IUCN Articles | Prelims 2020


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