World For Nature

West Bengal SA

West Bengal – Fishing Cat

Fishing Cat

Common Name: Fishing Cat

Local Name: Baghrol/ MechoBeral

Scientific Name: Prionailurus viverrinus

Description: The Fishing Cat is a medium-sized wild cat inhabiting wetlands, lakes, swamps, and mangroves in different parts of South and Southeast Asia. In West Bengal, fishing cats have been recorded from the Panchla and Domjur areas of Howrah District, Dankuni in the Hooghly District, and the Sundarbans. The Fishing Cat is primarily a nocturnal species, and its diet mainly consists of fish, crabs, small rodents, birds, insects, reptiles, and hard-shelled freshwater mollusks.

Threats: The Fishing Cat is severely threatened due to the destruction of wetlands and the pollution and depletion of the water bodies. In the last 15 years, about 44% of the wetlands have been lost in West Bengal.  With the rapid destruction of the wetlands, the fishing cats encroach into the surrounding areas to hunt for their food. Since it primarily preys on fish, they also often face retaliatory killings by the villagers and pond owners.

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