The fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) is an endangered felid with widespread but patchy distribution in Terai Arc Landscape of Nepal. Although, fishing cats have been reported from the Bardia National Park (hereafter referred to as BNP) in south-western Nepal, details of such reporting are rather not documented. The BNP has necessary ecological attributes to harbor a healthy population of fishing cats and surveying these potentially suitable habitats is a priority for fishing cat conservation. However, there has been no comprehensive survey and monitoring on fishing cats in the BNP and as a result their current status in the BNP is largely unknown. The overarching purpose of this study is to assess, for the first time, current status of the fishing cat in the BNP. To accomplish aforementioned purposes, we will conduct population survey using camera traps, characterize fishing cat habitat, and assess current and potential threats to their survival. We will focus our survey efforts to sections of Karnali and Babai rivers which comprise of optimal fishing cat habitat. Findings from this study will fill in knowledge-gaps that have long existed for populations of fishing cats in BNP by generating critical information on the status of their population, habitat usage and threats, which will eventually facilitate assessment of their current status. To have this kind of information on the status of an endangered species is the primary and important prerequisite in planning and executing any conservation strategy.
Collaborator: Dr. Anthony J. Giordano, Founder and Executive Director at S.P.E.C.I.E.S