A first for ZooBorns and the first in 15 years for the Cincinnati Zoo: Fishing Cats! As their name suggests, Fishing Cats are specialists at hunting critters in the water. They will even dive-in head first to catch their prey! This makes them the perfect cat to take in the bath with you (kidding!).
The Cincinnati Zoo has been working with other AZA institutions to study these elusive felines in the wilds of Thailand. Learn more, including how to help, at www.fishingcatproject.info
Watch them do some fishing!
Baby Fishing Cats Al-lure for Cincinnati Zoo Visitors
Cincinnati, OH (September 17, 2009) Three two-month-old fishing cats, born June 30, are now on exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo’s Cat House. These kittens are the first fishing cats born at the Cincinnati Zoo since 1993 and the only litter of fishing cats born in any AZA-accredited zoo in almost two years. There are approximately 50 fishing cats housed in 21 U.S. zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).
Because the kittens’ father and mother are descended from wild fishing cats in Thailand and Cambodia,respectively, these three kittens are extremely valuable genetically to the managed population.
A specialist, the fishing cat hunts for fish, and frogs, which separates them from other cats that are more opportunistic generalists hunters. These cats will plunge head first into the water to seize prey and have been observed swimming underwater during these pursuits. Fishing cat’s toes have developed some webbing to them in their aquatic habitat.
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden helped to initiate the first comprehensive ecological study of wild fishing cats in Southeast Asia beginning in 2003. With continued support from the Cincinnati Zoo and other AZA-accredited institutions, Thai biologist Passanan Cutter has been assessing the status of wild fishing cats in Sam Roi Yot National Park in southern Thailand. In the past six months, she has obtained camera trap photographs of 15 individual fishing cats and placed radio collars on seven cats for ecological monitoring. More information about this exciting project may be found at www.fishingcatproject.info.