Project start date and status:
Kitipat is an assistant researcher of Conservation Ecology Group, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Thailand. His team has conducted survey on small carnivore species in coastal mangrove and wetlands of southern Thailand from 2016 to 2020. Currently, he is sitting for Master Degree with his thesis focusing on various aspects for fishing cat conservation.
Kitipat started survey fishing cats in September 2017. His study has objectives to (1) estimate population and density of fishing cats in and around Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, and (2) determine potential threats to fishing cats survival.
A preliminary sign survey was conducted in an area over 300 km2 between December 2017 and May 2018 to assess the potential area for camera trapping within the study site. Evidences of fishing cats were found in diverse habitats both natural, human-dominated areas, and abandoned areas. Then camera-trap survey was conducted from November 2018 to May 2019. From camera-trap photos, fishing cats were identified, and data were used to estimate their population and density, as well as identify their suitable habitats.
Regarding potential threats to fishing cat survival, structured interview survey was conducted in June 2018 with more than 100 local villagers from 27 villages within the study site. The questions involved various kinds of threat including land-use change, conflict with human and hunting to determine major threats and understand the problems in more detail.
The result of the project can also serve as baseline data for long-term monitoring of population trends. Since a large proportion of the population in this area resides outside the current protected area boundary, and perhaps most confirmed populations in Thailand also occur outside the protected area system, immediate conservation measures particularly incorporating participation from local communities to mitigate current threats are needed.