Ganesh Puri graduated in forestry and wildlife from the Agriculture and Forestry University, Nepal. Working as a government forest and wildlife ranger in the Western Terai region, Nepal, he has seen over and over again the threats to the fishing cat; habitat loss, retaliatory killings from hunting, poisoning, and snaring. Enough was enough, Ganesh decided to commit to mitigating these threats for the survival of the fishing cat. He founded the Western Terai Fishing Cat Project in September of 2020 made possible by a small grant from the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund. He empowers, motivates and engages the local fishing dependent communities (Bote, Majhi, Tharu and Musahar) as well as their children in fishing cat conservation. In the coming years, Ganesh has planned to establish community-based fishing ponds in the Kapilvastu district of Western Terai Landscape. The fishing ponds will be run by communities to not only support their livelihoods but to also ease tension/negative attitudes towards the fishing cat. He hopes to foster community members to take stewardship in fishing cat conservation in their very own backyard.
This year 4 new ponds were built and 5 were repaired his Ganesh’s working area, also fishing cat habitat. Although the Ministry had allocated budget for the program for the promotion of tourism, since Ganesh was directly involved in closing a location and construction of the pond, he chose the site to help in the conservation of fishing cats along with tourism. The ponds are close to forests and settlements. Ganesh plants to organize livelihood activities in association with the ponds, specifically fishing dependent communities.
For Ganesh, working in the field has also meant informing the local community as well as within his department and other people about the importance of fishing cat conservation.