Saving Fishing Cats in the Wild

Saving Fishing Cats in the Wild

Fishing Cat Summary

The Fishing Cat Working Group (FCWG) was founded in spring 2011 with the aim of compiling and disseminating information about the Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), one of four small cat species considered endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and encouraging conservation action for the species. Of the FCWG conservationists, some are involved in surveying ecology and status of the Fishing Cat in several range countries, while others have compiled available information on the historical distribution of the Fishing Cat. In November 2015 these conservationists were able to meet for the very first time at a 5 day international Symposium in Nepal to push global fishing cat conservation forward, each conservationist presented their efforts and shared their experiences. The symposium brought together participants from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Below are examples of the current conservation projects aiding in the protection of the Fishing Cat.

fishingcatlauachareaIndia: Since 2011 Tiasa Adhya has been documenting and mapping fishing cats outside protected areas in West Bengal. Her project was one of the first attempts to research how Fishing Cat persists in a human- dominated landscape. The study looked at threats to the fishing cat including habitat loss and poaching. Tiasa was instrumental in forming Fishing Cat Protection Committees and works with local communities to initiate a community-owned Fishing Cat conservation area. Big Cat Rescue assisted in funding for this in situ project.

Sri Lanka: Since 2014, Ashan Thudugala has been monitoring potential threats to Fishing Cat in the country. He initiated a research and conservation project in the hilly region and organises awareness programmes for school children and students.In Sri Lanka’s hill country, many forest patches are covered or crossed by roads, or have been deforested in recent years to allow for expansion of urban areas. The Fishing Cat population is presumably severely affected by this habitat loss and fragmentation with feeding grounds for Fishing Cat diminishing. In addition road kills are increasing so Ashan also started setting up road signs at spots along highways where Fishing Cats have been killed. Big Cat Rescue assisted in funding for this in situ project.

Bangladesh: Hasan Rahman, Jennifer McCarthy and Kyle McCarthy used a presence-only computer model to predict the distribution of Fishing Cat as more is currently known about dead Fishing Cats in the country than about live ones. Between January 2010 and March 2013, national newspapers reported 82 incidents involving Fishing Cats that were captured by local people; 14 individuals were rescued and released without being monitored; 30 individuals were fatally injured, and the fate of 38 Fishing Cats remained unknown. They called for urgent measures to protect the species.

Dr Jim Sanderson of the FCWG commented: “Fishing Cats are specialists and no larger, generalist species can act as umbrellas to protect their limited and often threatened habitats. Much of Southeast Asia had already been lost. The Javan Fishing Cat subspecies has likely followed the Javan Tiger into extinction. Fishing Cats in Vietnam have no laws protecting them and any that remain might be a lost cause. The existence of Cambodia’s last Fishing Cats depends on bold conservation actions. Despite these setbacks, Fishing Cat conservationists will never give up”

You can read more about work done by the Fishing Cat working group here:

Information obtained from: viverrinus/infos/FCWG2016_ 1stInt_FishingCat_ Conservation_Symposium_ proceedings.pdf

Fishing Cat Facts

Fishing Cat Facts

Fishing Cat

Common Name: Fishing Cat
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata (Vertebrata)
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Felinae (Prionailurus)
Species: viverrinus

Misc.: This is yet another example of a cat that disproves the misconception that cats don’t like water. This cat received its Latin name from its civet-like appearance (the viverridae family) from Bennet (1833) who first described the Fishing Cat scientifically.

Size and Appearance: A stock and powerfully built cat, with short legs, a big broad head and a short tail. Fishing cats weigh between 13-26 pounds, stand 15-16 inches tall and reach lengths of 38-47 inches. Its coat is olive gray and is patterned with rows of parallel solid black spots, which often form stripes along the spine. Their ears are short and round with black backs, and prominent white spots in the middle. Despite the fishing habits of this cat, it shows very little morphological adaptations for capturing or eating fish. Like the Flat-headed cat, its claw sheaths are shortened so that the claws are not completely enveloped when retracted. Unlike the Flat-headed cat, in which the second upper pre-molar is long and sharp enabling it to grab slippery prey, the fishing cat has a much smaller and less developed tooth. At one time, one of the more noted characteristics often associated with the Fishing cat was webbed feet. Today, it is found that the webbing beneath the toes isn’t much more developed than that of a Bobcat.

Habitat: Found in a variety of watery habitats including mangrove swamps, marshy thickets, tidal creeks, oxbow lakes, and reed beds up to an elevation of 5000 feet.

Distribution: India through Indochina and Indonesia.

Reproduction and Offspring: After a gestation of 63 days, females produce a litter of 1-4 kittens, with the average being 2. They weigh 3.5-6 ounces at birth and will gain an average of 11 grams per day. Their eyes open by the 16th day, and meat is usually taken around the 53rd day. They are weaned between 4-6 months of age, reach adult size around 8-9 months old and are independent around 10 months.

In captivity, their average life span is 10-12 years.

Social System and Communication: Unknown.  They are believed to be solitary, but there have been some unconfirmed reports
that the males may help with the care and supervision of the young.

Hunting and Diet: The bulk of this cats diet is made up of fish, which they will not only swim and dive after, but the try and scoop them out with their paws as well. It is also believed to take other aquatic prey such as crustaceans, mollusks, frogs and snakes. They will also prey on terrestrial mammals such as rodents, civets, young chital fawns, wild pigs, and even domestic animals such as goats, dogs, calves and poultry.  They have also been known to scavenge off of tiger kills.

Principal Threats: Wetland destruction is the greatest threat facing the Fishing Cat. A survey showed that more than 50% of Asian wetlands are faced with moderate to high degrees of threat and disappearing. These threats include settlement, draining for agriculture, pollution, and excessive hunting, woodcutting and fishing. Download this 2008 report documenting 1,158 endangered and threatened exotic cats being illegally, yet openly sold in Myanmar markets. The Wild Cat Trade in Myanmar

Status: CITES: Appendix II. IUCN: Insufficiently known.

Felid TAG 2000 recommendation: Fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus). Although not endangered, this species’ lowland habitat is under stress. Fishing cats also have unique aquatic tendencies that add to their exhibitry and educational value. An international studbook exists.  The target population is 100 individuals. The Fishing Cat now has a Species Survival Plan SSP.

How rare is this cat? The International Species Information Service lists 256 worldwide, with 68 being in the U.S.

Information reprinted With Permission from the IUCN Wild Cats Book


Meet some of the fishing cats who lived at Big Cat Rescue:

Fishing Cats of BCR

Big Cat Rescue Wants to be the Only Big Cat Sanctuary

Big Cat Rescue Wants to be the Only Big Cat Sanctuary

That is the lie that animal abusers tell everyone to try and change the subject from protecting exotic cats to a message of mere competition.

Lion vs Tiger


They trot out their modified version of our 20 year plan to back up their ridiculous claims, but they leave out the most important part of the plan, which is that there no longer be big cats suffering in captivity, and thus no longer a need for sanctuaries, including Big Cat Rescue’s sanctuary.

As the public becomes better educated about why it is so wrong to breed wild cats for life in cages, they will cease to support industries that breed them as pay to play props, for circuses and other abusive purposes.  There will temporarily be an increased need for real sanctuaries, which are those who meet the following standards.

1.  Real sanctuaries do not breed exotic cats for life in cages.

2.  Real sanctuaries do not buy wild cats.

3.  Real sanctuaries do not sell their wildlife.

4.  Real sanctuaries do not let the public, nor their staff or volunteers handle the big cats, other than for veterinary purposes.

5.  Real sanctuaries do not endanger the public and the big cats by taking them off site for exhibition.


Big Cat Rescue LOVES real sanctuaries and helps them by:


1.  Providing guidance on best practices to help the sanctuary qualify for and obtain accreditation through the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.

2. Hosting workshops and conferences for those who want to do the right thing for wild animals.

3.  Training volunteers and international interns in understanding that each animal is an individual who is to be respected and treated with dignity.

4.  Sending work groups of our own volunteers out to help after disasters and when other sanctuaries are short handed.

5.  Sharing the secrets of our success with those who demonstrate clearly that they are putting the animals first.


Those who exploit wild animals for their own gain hate us because they don’t want the public to know that:


1.  There is no reason to breed big cats in cages, as none of them in private hands can ever be set free.

2.  There is no captive breeding program that benefits conservation, other than AZA administered SSP programs.

3.  Paying to play with a cub or see one on display actually harms conservation efforts.

4.  Tigers could disappear from the wild because of the smoke screen caused by their legal breeding of generic tigers.

5.  A ban on private possession is the first step toward saving tigers in the wild.

Exploiters claim that if the Big Cats & Public Safety Act were to pass that they would be put out of business and wouldn’t be able to help “rescue” lions, tigers, leopards, ligers and other exotic cats, but that isn’t true.  Big Cat Rescue is one of the most successful sanctuaries in the world and we do it by being open, honest and treating the cats with kindness and respect.  We want sanctuaries to thrive, and they can do that if they employ the same attitudes and behaviors that we have in being a real sanctuary.

Any real sanctuary, who is doing their work for the animals and not their own sense of satisfaction, will share our goal of a world where all wild cats live free.

Now at Big Cat Rescue Oct 3 2014

Now at Big Cat Rescue Oct 3 2014

Genie the Sandcat is rushed to the vet when her keepers note that she is acting weird.


Genie Sandcat was sedated in a glass box used for domestic cats.



This was to make sedation easier on her since she is only 3.3 pounds and 14 years old.



Dr. Wynn keeps a close eye on her vitals.



The monitors are just all over the place, so she has to rely on feel, sound and instincts.



For such an old and tiny cat, Genie Sandcat has some fearsome teeth!



The tiniest mask straps are too big, so Carole holds the gas mask in place.



Sandcats are the softest of the exotic cat species.



No spinal issues and her lungs don’t look terrible, but she has a case of bronchitis.



This is good news, because Genie Sandcat is given a long lasting antibiotic shot and has a good chance at recovery.



Dr. Wynn gives her fluids, steroids and antibiotics to help tiny little Genie fight off her symptoms.



Genie Sandcat’s paw is the size of the tip of Jamie Veronica’s finger.




Sandcat paws are fully furred on the bottom for running on desert sands.


Violations at Big Cat Facilities 2011-2014


The USDA site doesn’t work most of the time and when it does it is so slow that most browsers will time out and quit before you can download the information you are looking for.  This information is current as of Oct. 3, 2014.

USDA Facilities with big cats who have had citations

USDA Facilities with big cats who have had repeat violations

USDA Facilities with repeat violations for all animal species



Today at Big Cat Rescue Nov 22

Today at Big Cat Rescue Nov 22

Thanksgiving Big Cat Love Story

Take our poll here about what you love most about cats:


Check Out These Big Cat Thanksgiving E Cards

Check Out Hundreds of These Big Cat Thanksgiving E Cards


Mark your calendars!

Fun Fur All Ball at Skipper’s

Join us for a benefit concert at Skipper’s Smoke House in Tampa on Sunday December 11th. Enjoy musical entertainment from Juanjamon Band, Skull and Bone Band, The Human Condition, and Sunset Bridge while perusing the raffle and auction items, including original paintings created live during the show by local artists.

The Fun Fur All Ball is from 4-9 PM. Tickets are a $10 minimum suggested donation. Check out  Skipper’s facebook page and Like them.

Shere Khan and China Doll the tigers snuggling

Shere Khan and China Doll the tigers snuggling

Beautiful flowers blooming down Easy Street entrance to BCR

Beautiful flowers blooming down Easy Street entrance to BCR

Jamie Veronica lets Windstar the bobcat into his new room addition

Jamie Veronica lets Windstar the bobcat into his new room addition

Rosey recycling elephant ears that were culled for cage painting

Rosie recycling elephant ears that were culled for cage painting

Big Cat Rescue staff photographer out gathering SandCat photos

Big Cat Rescue staff photographer out gathering SandCat photos

Carole Baskin cutting door into Windstar bobcat's new room addition

Carole Baskin cutting door into Windstar bobcat's new room addition

Windstar the bobcat raced in circles around his new Cat-a-tat

Windstar the bobcat raced in circles around his new Cat-a-tat

Regina giving Simba the tigress her evening meds

Regina giving Simba the tigress her evening meds

Alex the tiger enjoying his dinner after a long day of lake gazing

Alex the tiger enjoying his dinner after a long day of lake gazing

Raindance the Bobcat 2011 Nov 22

Raindance the Bobcat 2011 Nov 22

Save Wild Tigers


Zero tolerance is the only way to preserve the last wild tigers


LONDON: The Environmental Investigation Agency today endorses a new petition calling on Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to adopt a zero-tolerance policy on tiger trade.


The petition has been organised by TigerTime, an initiative of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation which has garnered mass public and celebrity support to raise awareness of the plight of the world’s last remaining wild tigers and campaign to reverse its decline.


The petition urges: “I appeal to Premier Wen Jiabao to send a clear message to his government, calling for an end to all tiger trade within China. This is to include a call for a zero tolerance policy applied to all trade of all parts and derivatives of tiger and other protected Asian big cats, from all sources.”


It has been launched almost a year to the day since Wen Jiabao, at the 2010 International Tiger Conservation Forum in St Petersburg, promised the world his country would “vigorously combat poaching, trade and smuggling of tiger products”.


However, China has refused to answer questions about the implementation of its controversial 2007 Skin Registration Scheme, allowing tiger and leopard skins from ‘legal origins’, including those from captive-bred big cats, to be registered, labelled and sold.


A lack of transparency as to how authorities determine the legality of skins, coupled with inadequate enforcement and growing corruption, is creating a smokescreen for the illegal trade in tiger and leopard skins and derivatives in China.


“EIA has often worked with the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation as a fellow member of the Species Survival Network and is pleased to wholeheartedly endorse its TigerTime petition,” said EIA Lead Campaigner Debbie Banks.


“China has had more than enough time to begin putting its house in order along the lines of Wen Jiabao’s promises in Russia, but instead of shutting down the tiger farms and embracing a zero-tolerance policy on the trade in tiger and big cat skins and derivatives, it instead seems dead set on heading in the wrong direction.”


The TigerTime initiative has secured the support of a large number of household names since launching in June, including Samantha Fox, Sir Paul McCartney, Joanna Lumley, Stephen Fry, Ricky Gervais, Sir Roger Moore, Sir Michael Parkinson, Susan Sarandon, Anjelica Huston, Jeremy Irons, Paula Abdul, Neil Gaiman and

Joan Jett.


The TigerTime ‘Ban the Tiger Trade’ petition can be found at



Interviews, footage and stills are available on request: please contact Debbie Banks, at or telephone 020 7354 7960.





1. The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is a UK-based Non Governmental Organisation and charitable trust (registered charity number 1040615) that investigates and campaigns against a wide range of environmental crimes, including illegal wildlife trade, illegal logging, hazardous waste, and trade in climate and ozone-altering chemicals.


2. The EIA report Enforcement not Extinction: Zero Tolerance on Tiger Trade outlines EIA’s recommendations for urgent actions to reverse the tiger’s decline


3. EIA has written to China seeking clarification over the 2007 Skin Registration Scheme and raised questions about it from the floor at UN meetings, but China has failed to respond. Read our briefings at &


4. The International Tiger Forum in St Petersburg in November 2010 resulted in the adoption of the Global Tiger Recovery Program (GTRP) and the goal of doubling the wild tiger population by 2022; see


5. It is estimated there are between 3,200-3,500 wild tigers remaining in the world.


6. The Species Survival Network (SSN), founded in 1992, is an international coalition of more than 80 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) committed to the promotion, enhancement and strict enforcement of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Visit the SSN website here



Environmental Investigation Agency

62-63 Upper Street

London N1 0NY


Tel: +44 207 354 7960

Fax: +44 207 354 7961



The County went in this morning and removed all shelters and dismantled feeding stations at Saddle Creek Park. The County has the opportunity to take the most effective and humane action now, but they are not. They have begun their plan to try to starve the cats to death. They have created this problem by not enforcing Parks Ordinance preventing “dumping” of animals and now want to enforce ordinances against citizens being humane to these animals. The bottom line is that removal of the cats or attempted starvation of the cats will not solve the issue. Properly managed TNR programs, like the one being run by Feral Fanciers, will solve the issue at no expense to the taxpayers of Polk County. If you are angry about this now is the time toSPEAK UP. The County will listen to the protests of the citizens more than they are listening to us. Contact the people below and tell them how you feel. Forward this email to others and encourage them to speak up to. THE ONLY WAY TO SAVE THESE CATS IS TO SPEAK UP.
It is time for all of us to contribute our time and voice to helping the cats. TNR IS THE ONLY HUMANE SOLUTION

Let these people know that you want the only effective and humane solution for feral cats in Polk County:
Letter to the
Tom Palmer BlogCat Colonies on Public Lands
Parks and Recreation
Jeff Spence, Director
Phone: 863-534-7377
4177 Ben Durrance Road · Bartow, FL 33830
Michael Callender, Parks and Recreation Manager
Phone: 863-534-4340
General Office: 863-534-4340 · Fax:863-534-7006
515 Boulevard St. · Bartow, FL 33831
County Manager
Jim Freeman, County Manager
Phone: 863-534-6444
County Commissioners:
Bob English, Commissioner
Melony Bell, Commissioner
Edwin V. Smith, Commissioner and Chairman
Todd Dantzler, Commissioner
Sam Johnson, Commissioner and Vice Chairman
ALL: Office Address: 330 W. Church Street, Bartow
Mailing Address: Drawer BC01, P.O. Box 9005, Bartow, Florida 33831-9005
Feral Fanciers, Inc.
PO Box 92330
Lakeland, FL 33804