Since 2003, the Fishing Cat Research and Conservation Project has worked to secure and restore fishing cat populations. The project entails four vital components, spanning surveying and ecological research to outreach and education. The Project is implemented in areas throughout the fishing cat’s range in Thailand and Southeast Asia.
The Fishing Cat Research and Conservation Project identifies viable populations of fishing cats in Southeast Asia supports direct action to conserve those populations. The project does this by conducting field research, supporting effective habitat management, and by initiating and supporting education and outreach activities. Namfon Cutter is the director of this project and is currently conducting field research as part of a MSc. Degree program in the University of Minnesota’s Conservation Biology Graduate Program.
The Fishing Cat Research and Conservation Project has four components, each contributing to fishing cat conservation in Thailand and throughout Southeast Asia:
- The first of these is a regional review of fishing cat distribution and conservation status involving the compilation of all current and historical data on fishing cat occurrence throughout Southeast Asia.
- The project's second component is a detailed ecological study of fishing cats in their natural habitat. This component of the project will provide biologists with a solid foundation upon which to plan subsequent ecological research and conservation efforts.
- A third component of the project seeks to take advantage of the project's live capture component to screen animals for the presence of several emerging zoonotic diseases. Avian influenza, SARS, and other diseases are now significant health concerns for both wildlife and human populations. We work collaboratively with regional partners to ensure that our work contributes to current disease research and monitoring efforts.
- The fourth project component is education and outreach. Using the activities and results of the project as primary content, we use presentations, posters, and other tools to raise awareness of fishing cats and other wetland dependent species and encourage more sustainable use of the wetland landscapes upon which they depend.
Stay tuned for more updates on this Project.