Thekke Thumbath Shameer, Anant Shankar, Nandani Salaria, Raveendranathanpillai Sanil

The number of fishing cats in the Godavari Delta, India, suggests they can coexist with humans

Santrauka Anthropogenic activities have significantly disrupted natural habitats, driving many species to the brink of extinction. While concerted conservation efforts and habitat restoration initiatives have successfully rescued several species from the brink, there remains a significant gap in our understanding of the population and distribution of numerous species. Among these are small carnivores, characterized by their elusive and nocturnal behaviour, complicating population monitoring efforts. One such species is the fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), which is vulnerable per the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species (IUCN). The Godavari delta, a prominent mangrove ecosystem along the Andhra Pradesh coastline in India, is one of the prime habitats for this cat. Using camera traps, we monitored fishing cats in the Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS) and adjacent mangrove vegetation in the Godavari Delta. We placed 52 camera traps in 2 × 2 km2 grids at 52 sites for 30 days and used spatially explicit capture-recapture (SECR) models to estimate population density based on individual identification. The analysis reveals that the population density in the CWS is 0.40 ± 0.06 individuals per km2 and 0.37 ± 0.06 in the surrounding areas, with an estimated total population of 114.94 individuals (95% CI = 103.67–126.21). Our study identifies the Godavari Delta as a potential landscape for the long-term conservation of fishing cats. Continuous monitoring is essential to understand this species’ population dynamics and discern the factors influencing its adaptation to human-dominated environments in the adjoining areas.


Raktažodžiai Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary; population density; SECR; human-disturbed habitats; conservation

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