Friday 2 May 2014

Trapped fishing cat mistaken for leopard in Greater Noida

Trapped fishing cat mistaken for leopard in Greater Noida

A fishing cat, once again, has been mistaken for a leopard and this time it happened in a place that's not too far from New Delhi, the capital of India.

I must say, that over the years that I have been reading about the wild cats, I have noticed that it is not uncommon to read about leopards and medium to large wild cat species being trapped in wells.

Fishing cat facts for kids
Read about the fishing cat. This image is copyright Michael Broad. Credits are on the linked page.

That is what happened to this fishing cat.  The cat was found in a well.  It had wandered into a village because its habitat had been shrunk through unregulated urbanisation.  The fishing cat lives on wetlands as can be imagined because it feeds on fish as a primary prey.

The big question I have is why are so many wild cat species ending up at the bottom of village wells?  It seems to me, and I am very sceptical these days, that villagers are herding the cats into the wells to protect themselves from what they see as a dangerous animal.

The fishing cat isn't that dangerous because it is a small to medium-sized wild cat species.  It is a strong cat and it does bring down fairly large prey on occasions but I don't ever recall reading about a fishing cat attacking a person.  It is just that people mistake the fishing cat for a leopard, which surprises me because the leopard is many times larger. By comparison to a domestic cat the fishing cat is about twice the size.

We're not talking about distant sightings of a wild cat.  We're talking about people being quite close to a frightened wild cat who has wandered into a village.  Surely, after all these years villagers should be able to distinguish between a fishing cat and a leopard.

Apparently, this wild cat was recovered from the village well and taken to a zoo where no doubt it will be miserable for the rest of its life all because it happened to have wandered into a village having been forced off its own habitat.  Sorry to be so negative but that is the truth of the matter.

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