Save fishing cats works tirelessly to promote public awareness and education, community-based conservation and threat reduction to ensure the long term survival of fishing cats in their original habitats
Save fishing cats is an on-site conservation program, practicing education initiatives and community programs to promote conservation and also the awareness of the species. The ‘save fishing cats’ works on investigating threats and conflicts both human and animals face and design plans to reduce them in proper manner. In advance we work on exploring information about small cats and their core habitats to assist in the long-term preservation and also to develop local community advocates to promote conservation efforts in Sri Lanka.
‘Save fishing cats’ was founded in October 2014 and has been working on to raise public awareness regarding all three small cats with emphasis on fishing cats .So far, variety of projects has been done collaborating with numerous individuals and organizations.
Conservation through education program began in 2014 with a school program that educated about wild cats of Sri Lanka. With the time, ‘save fishing cats’ organization has been formed to promote conservation and research experiences in Sri Lanka. The save fishing cats staff is composed with the biologists and field assistants who are responsible and very keen on community outreach programs, education and research.
The greatest threats to the fishing cats across the region are destruction of wetlands and their prime habitats by deforestation and fragmentation, conversion to agriculture, aquaculture, excessive hunting, and pollution. This species is a good focal species for the conservation management of protected areas since they are habitat specialists and require marshy areas that have an adequate prey base. They also qualify as a flagship species due to their charismatic value. The local populations are highly threatened due to numbers of threats such as road kills, poisoning, hunting, and habitat destruction. Although fishing cats fast earning a negative reputation due to their conflicts with the people living around protected areas, road kills holds the highest reputation for the fishing cat population decline in past 10 years.
Established in 2017, Small Cat Advocacy and Research (SCAR) is a non-profit organization dedicated towards the protection of Sri Lanka’s lesser understood small wild cats, and small mammals.
Our focus is to gain a better understanding of the three species through conservation and research, and use the knowledge gained to conserve the species throughout the island by working closely with communities, stakeholders and government authorities. Our awareness campaigns on the three small wild cats will ensure wider reach and educate the general public that these lesser-known species are just as important as their larger cousin (i.e. the Sri Lankan leopard).
- Monitoring the distribution and threats in deferent areas
- Conservation through awareness and education
- Conduction of research to identify their behaviors and ecology
Ashan Thudugala is a postgraduate student at Postgraduate institute of Science, University of Peradeniya who is interested in small wild cat conservation and research. He has been working on the fishing cats and their conservation since his undergraduate days 2013 at University of Peradeniya. He strongly believes in community based conservation and threat reeducation can save these magnificent species from local extinction. He currently engaged in Monitoring the home ranges and distribution of fishing cats study in Sri Lanka.
Gajaba is a lecturer at Department of Zoology, Open University of Sri Lanka. He has a strong interest in fishing cat conservation through community participation. He has been actively involved in wildlife conservation since 2011.
Saumya Bandara is a Probationary Lecturer in Science Education at The University of Peradeniya. He is interested in Biology Education and Land Snail Ecology. Saumya believes in attitudinal development of the community, especially the young generation is the key to promote biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. He considers community awareness programs as the best approach to achieve the above goals.
Buddhika is reading for a masters degree at University of Peradeniya. His research area is ecology and has interests on the indicator organisms such as butterflies and birds. He did his postgraduate research on the variance of butterfly diversity with forest types. he currently works as a naturalist and try to educate the community on the biodiversity conservation.
THILINA DE SILVA
Thilina is a PhD student of the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) and the Biodiversity Institute (BI) of University of Kansas. His interests include evolution of nesting in birds, evolution of plumage coloration, and sexual selection driven speciation. He is a member of the Stork-Ibis-Spoonbill specialist group (SISSG) associated with IUCN, and works on the conservation of globally threatened Lesser Adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus) populations in Sri Lanka. His earlier studies/research also comprises work on bird-feeding guilds in relation to forest regeneration in dry semi-evergreen forests in Sri Lanka.