Godavari Fishing Cat Project

The Godavari Fishing Cat Project was started in 2014. Godavari River is the second largest river in India, and nearly 60 million people depend on this river which also entails immense religious and historical significance. The Godavari river is enormous across its course and empties finally into the Bay of Bengal in the East Coast of India forming vast stretches of mangroves forests called as the Godavari mangroves. These mangroves support a viable population of fishing cats in South India, and fishing cats are an important flagship species for the Godavari mangroves.

Long-term goals for the project include:

  1. Strengthening the conservation efforts along with improving habitat management, so that we can ensure the long-term survival of fishing cats in the Godavari region.
  2. Restoring corridor connectivity by sustainable mangrove regeneration in the lost patches in the Godavari region.

As part of the project, we initiated an awareness program for the children belonging to the local communities – “Children for Fishing cat”. This initiative aims to improve the conservation of fishing cats by raising awareness and educating about its global importance and its mangrove habitats by targeting the younger children of the local fishing community living around mangrove forests of Godavari region.

The major threats for the fishing cat population in the Godavari region are the loss and degradation of mangroves and other coastal wetlands. Our project highlighted the importance of mangroves since the likelihood of occurrence of fishing cat increases with the presence and extent of mangrove cover in the Godavari region. However, vast stretches of these mangroves are subjected to extensive land-use changes mainly driven by the expansion of aquaculture industry and industrial development.

Project initiated: 2014
Current status: Ongoing
Primary Investigator: Giridhar Malla

Giridhar is a Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) 2018 scholar and is presently pursuing his PhD from Wildlife Institute of India, focusing on ecology and conservation of fishing cats in Andhra Pradesh. For the past six years, he has worked exclusively on the conservation and ecology of fishing cats in mangroves forests of Andhra Pradesh and his interests include illustrating children wildlife comic books for educational activities for local schools and fishing communities.