Fishing Cat Conservation, Pakistan

Zafeer is a student of medicine at the Bahria College Karachi NORE-1, and is currently sitting for his O-level examinations. His passion is mainly birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and plants. He is a part of the administration of Pakistan’s largest birdwatching and Mammal watching community. He has done an exhibition on Birds of Sindh and even inaugurated one. He is currently documenting the wildlife biodiversity of the Hawkes Bay-Sandspit Wetland Complex. Zafeer has always had an interest in wild cats. With both tigers and lions gone from Pakistan, his interest automatically shifted to small wild cats, a lesser-known group of species both in the world and in Pakistan, where there is very little known about them. Fishing cats were always a charming species to him, and he hopes to save these rare cats in Pakistan. Most of the sightings of this species are from Southern Sindh and only a few stragglers from North East Punjab. It was considered extinct from the wild until a survey in 2010 found them in close quarters with smooth-coated otters in Pakistan. Recent evidence suggests it may be more widespread than previously believed. Understanding the fishing cat’s distribution and status in Pakistan is critical to establish a threat reduction program here and ultimately, save these cats from extinction.

Zafeer is also the primary investigator for cruelty against fishing cats in Pakistan, working closely with both the Sindh Wildlife Department as well as local community members. He keeps the FCCA informed of the unjust use of fishing cats for exotic wildlife exhibition and trade so we can combat these challenges as a team.

Project initiated: 2020
Current status: Ongoing
Co-Founder / Primary Investigator: Zafeer Ahmed Shaikh