A survey has demonstrated that the Khao Nang Phanthurat Forest Park and surrounds has a population of at least eight of the protected Fishing Cats.
Camera traps set up to systematically explore the spread of the population in the area has provided images of the animals with further steps now being taken to ensure that the population is further protected in the area which is naturally very suitable for the life of this species.
Mr. Pichai Watcharapongpaiboon Director of the Office of Conservation Area Phetchaburi has reported that researchers from the Zoological Park Organisation of Thailand, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Burapha University, Kasetsart University and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation have jointly developed a research project to develop knowledge and innovations to conserve the Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus).
Further research is required to monitor the population and public relations to seek the cooperation of community members to maintain the habitat.
The species is the largest of the Prionailurus cats. It is about twice the size of a domestic cat and stocky and muscular with medium to short legs. Its head-to-body length ranges from 57 to 78 cm, with a tail of 20 to 30 cm. Female fishing cats range in weight from 5.1 to 6.8 kg, and males from 8.5 to 16 kg. Its skull is elongated, with a basal length of 123 – 153 mm and a post-orbital width of 27 – 31 mm.
Its paws are less completely webbed than those of the leopard cat, and the claws are incompletely sheathed so that they protrude slightly when retracted. Webbed feet have often been noted as a characteristic of the fishing cat, but the webbing beneath the toes is not much more developed than that of a bobcat.
Fishing cats have been observed while hunting along the edges of watercourses, grabbing prey from the water, and sometimes diving into the water to catch prey further from the banks. Their main prey is fish; which comprises approximately three-quarters of their diet, with the remainder consisting of birds, insects, and small rodents. molluscs, reptiles including snakes, amphibians and carrion of domestic cattle supplement their diet.
It is classified as an endangered and protected species according to the Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act, B.E. 2562. Populations have suffered from the destruction of wetlands and have declined severely over the last decade.