The state bull of West Bengal is likely to see a surge in staff very soon. Alipore Zoological Garden is considering plans to initiate a conservation breeding project for fish cats, which are listed as “endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
The fish cat is one of the smaller wildcat species typically found near swamps, marshland, oxbow lakes, tidal streams, and mangroves. With the scientific name ‘Prionailurus viverrinus’ it is a nocturnal animal, the number of which is said to decrease over time due to increasing conflicts with humans.
The Alipore Zoological Garden currently has around 12 such fish cats. Three of them were kept in enclosures so that visitors could see the animals. The rest is usually used for breeding purposes.
Given the fact, the zoo authorities are considering starting a breeding project to allow the animal to be preserved in the state and have received it from the local authorities. The zoo authorities have now sent an application to the zoo authority of India, which is awaiting approval.
According to official sources, once implemented and successful, the project will help increase the number of “endangered” species in the state. After the approval, the zoo authorities should build additional enclosures for the state animal. Consideration is also given to engaging scientists in the field who could help carry out a detailed study on the animals.