Parken Zoo in Sweden welcomed a new Fishing Cat on May 24. The little one, whose sex is not yet determined, is doing well and will nurse from its mother until it reaches about six months of age. The proud mother and father, Alaya and Narjol, are already an experienced pair. They have two adult offspring, Arya and Arun, born in September 2009.
Fishing Cats mainly live in southern and southeast Asia, often in wetland areas such as marshes, lakes, rivers and coastal mangrove forests. Generally active at night, they are excellent swimmers. They can scoop fish out of the water with their paws, and even dive to catch them. Caretakers at Parken Zoo often feed the Fishing Cat family in the water so that they can engage in their natural behaviors when eating. However, these cats are also adept hunters and scavengers on land, taking a variety of animals ranging from frogs and snakes to larger prey like dogs and goats.
Photo credits: Parken Zoo
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Fishing Cats are listed as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. According to the IUCN, loss of habitat is a major concern: in Southeast Asia, over 45% of protected wetlands and 94% of globally significant wetlands are considered threatened by human use. Depletion of fish and poaching are also factors in the Fishing Cat's rapid decline. The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria as well as the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums have extablished captive breeding programs for this species to help conserve these beautiful cats.