The Chilika Lake, Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon, has 176 fishing cats, according to a census conducted by Chilika Development Authority (CDA) in collaboration with The Fishing Cat Project (TFCP).
The world’s first population estimation of fishing cat census was conducted in Chilka, Odisha. It began in 2010 and is currently underway in two states in India: West Bengal and Odisha. West Bengal declared fishing cats the state animal in 2012.
The Fishing Cat Project conducted the census in two phases. For the first phase in 2021, surveyors focussed on the 115 sq. km marshland in the north and north-eastern section of the lake. The second phase was conducted this year on the Parikud side along the coastal part.
These cats are found in wetlands and flooded forests in major South and Southeast Asian river basins such as Indus in Pakistan, Mekong in Vietnam, and in Sri Lanka and Java.