Morgan Heim and Joanna Nasar launch “Cat in Water” on Kickstarter. This great project explores the fascinating Southeast Asian fishing cats. Read more below, and watch the video to see what Morgan and Joanna, two very talented photographers, conservationist and multimedia rockstars, are up to!
Along the coasts of Southeast Asia exists a cat that specializes in swimming for its meal. Its skin never gets wet, and to look at it brings to mind a leopard that shrunk in the wash.
The fishing cat is a species that has been little documented in the wild, despite the fact that it lives near villages. We are looking at a newly discovered population in Thailand’s Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park.
Fishing cats have been experiencing a rapid decline that is shrouded in mystery. As few as 10,000 remain in the world. Researchers in Thailand report that as of January 2011, 10 of 17 radio-collared cats they had been following were either dead or missing. Revenge killing and wetland loss are likely culprits. Even as the cat is disappearing, researchers are learning more than ever before about the behavior and threats to one of the world’s least known wildcats.
Our project, Cat in Water is an expedition to track and document the elusive fishing cat. We aim to bring back an unprecedented look at this rarely seen species. National Geographic Magazine has given us a letter of interest to help our reporting, and we are in talks with researchers and environmental officers at the U.S. Embassy in Thailand.
We will meet with key players on an adventure to capture the drama as the fishing cat tries to carve out an existence at the edge of civilization.
An especially interesting conservation message is that this cat can actually thrive in developed areas, so is a species at risk that doesn’t necessarily need protection of large swathes of wilderness to survive. There are also possible human health benefits to saving the cat, as the promotion of the better water and land management that will support the cat will likely lead to improved natural resource and sanitation conditions for surrounding communities.
Cat in Water promises to be an adventure for all. Follow the tracks of the fishing cat through our blog posts, photographs, multimedia, and video/audio dispatches from the field as we report the fishing cat’s story. You can even try your hand at the interactive features we will include along the way.
We ask for your support as we undertake the on-location reporting for this remarkable endangered species story.
Please watch our video to learn more about our project, and get your first look at the fishing cat. Thank you for taking the time, and we hope to send you messages of the fishing cat from Thailand very soon.
Project location: Sam Roi Yot, Thailand