PHNOM PENH, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) — Fishing cats, an endangered species of predatory feline, are found for the first time in southwest Cambodia after more than a decade in absence, the Fauna & Flora International (FFI) said in a press statement on Friday.
The camera traps have provided the first official records for the species since 2003, capturing images and footage of three individuals at two different coastal sites in Peam Krosaop Wildlife Sanctuary in Koh Kong province and Ream National Park in Preah Sihanouk province.
“Pictures of the endangered fishing cats provide welcome evidence that these elusive felines still survive in some parts of the country,” the statement said.
Researchers from the Cambodia’s Centre for Biodiversity Conservation, a partnership between the FFI and the Royal University of Phnom Penh, were thrilled by the findings which have allayed grave fears about the status of these animals in Cambodia.
FFI project leader Ret Thaung said the fishing cat’s preference for wetland habitat had led to severe population declines throughout much of its Asian range.
“This is a remarkable discovery as fishing cats are very vulnerable to human persecution,” she said. “We are especially pleased to see both a male and female cat.”
The endangered fishing cats are about twice the size of a domestic cat, with short legs and a long body.
Alongside the fishing cats, the cameras also recorded a variety of other threatened species including the critically endangered Sunda pangolin, the endangered hog deer, and the vulnerable smooth- coated otter, large-spotted civet and sambar deer