Project Leader: Swechhya Shrestha

Location: Jagdishpur, Kapilvastu, Nepal

Funding Agency: The Rufford Foundation

The definitive presence of Fishing Cat was confirmed in the Jagadishpur reservoir and Ban Ganga river in 2015 (Dahal S., 2015). A recent one-day monitoring survey was done to explore the current conservation status of Fishing Cat in the same area. The survey depicted that Fishing Cat faces threats of poaching, retaliatory killing, and drying of the reservoir. Fishing Cat is poached as a misconception of ethnomedicine for tuberculosis and also for bushmeat. Fishing Cat is retaliatorily killed for predating on fishes from the poultry and other small livestock. However, none of the indicative conservation actions on Fishing Cat among the community have been followed after the discovery of the cat in the project site. Besides poaching and killing for retaliation Fishing Cat also faces threats like over-harvesting of fishes from rivers and removing the riparian vegetation through overgrazing of livestock which brings the severe effect on the population of fishes, rodent, birds, and reptiles, and also on the cover for denning sites (Taylor et al., 2016). The important key factor for the survival of Fishing Cat is the presence of wetlands and marshy areas in the Jagadishpur Reservoir and the Ban Ganga River. The Jagadishpur Reservoir in the study site is shrinking due to development activities affecting the survival of Fishing Cat. As all the observant threats to Fishing Cat are closely related to the community, involving the community in conservation is important.

The main objective of the project is to encourage the community for the conservation of Fishing Cat via conducting various activities. The project activities include collaborating with the existing groups and committees. An information board on conservation of Fishing Cat was installed. Educational programs in twenty schools, awareness campaigns and Focal Group Discussion on conservation of Fishing Cat was conducted near and around the project site. Monitoring of Fishing Cat using camera traps was undertaken for 60 days in and around the Jagadispur reservoir and the Ban Ganga River. In addition to the camera trap survey, a questionnaire survey of 150 households was carried out to understand the local perception of existing threats. At the end of the project photo book was produced which was distributed to the local government and the community.