Fear of Big Cats Prompts Killing of Endangered Fishing Cat in Hooghly

Big cats have often stirred panic in mankind. The same case scenario prompted the killing of a fishing cat in Bengal’s Hooghly. Video footage of a large fishing cat walking down a deserted lane in Konnagar, a municipal town in Hooghly district. The sighting created panic among the residents who mistook it for a leopard.

Fear of Big Cats Prompt Killing of Endangered Fishing Cat in Hooghly

Locals killed a fishing cat in Hooghly after they mistook it for a leopard / Image: Ananda Bazar

The state of fear escalated by an incident reported in the first week of January in Bankura and Jhargram district, where multiple footprints that belonged to a tigress and her cubs, were spotted by the forest department.

Ravi Kant Sinha, the chief wildlife warden of West Bengal, said that the footage shows no leopards, it was only a fishing cat that does not harm humans. The footage of the fishing cat roaming was captured by a closed-circuit television camera installed in a house in the neighbourhood.

Also Read: Human-Wildlife Conflicts in India

Fishing cats are listed as vulnerable species in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. This endangered animal is also the state animal of West Bengal. The Dankuni wetlands, a fishing cat habitat is located less than 10 km away from the place where the cat was spotted.

The locals claimed to have found parts of carcasses of birds, dogs and cats over the past few days. They have been carrying sticks while leaving home at night or early morning. Some people in the neighbouring village said that they have heard loud roars at night.

A member of the state wildlife advisory body, Biswajit Roy Chowdhury said,

The footage shows the cat walking past a parked mini-truck. If we compare its size with that of the truck’s tyres, we can easily conclude that it is not a leopard. The animal had stripes on its back and not spots, which makes it a fishing cat.

It is disturbing to encounter such inhumane actions of brutality against the animals. Such cases reveal the ugly truth of human-wildlife conflicts. After witnessing crimes against wildlife, it comes as no surprise that the species are in peril and the planet is moving towards its impending doom.

Via: Hindustan Times

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