Morgan and Joanna of our CAT in WATER team sent us the latest update on their field expedition in Thailand. The girls are making great progress on tracking the fishing cat and even captured their first glimpse on the camera trap! Read what the team has to say about their obstacles and possible solutions…will you help us save the fishing cat?
Where 24 hours ago had been a swaying green sea of tall grass and rough-edged fishponds now lies a raw, muddy pit. This land has gone to the shrimp farm. It’s hard to believe that just a few days ago, we used a machete to break a line through the wetlands of Sam Roi Yod.
Above the pit we look to what was once a shaded tree-lined ridge where Morgan captured our first glimpse of the fishing cat with her camera trap. His cameo took only four days to appear. In the photo, he pauses, large-pupiled and paw-raised, staring down the camera as if he owns the joint. A small pink tongue licks the end of his nose.
Now, the ridge lies bared to the sun. The trees chopped and tall grasses plowed, then burned away. Everything is caked in a rotten-smelling muck.
But that is not all that has changed.
The sound is all of a sudden deafening to the point that you feel the earth shaking. It is the rumble of a tractor widening a road, the putter of a pump sucking the pond dry . . . the fishing cat surely hears all these noises and runs … but we wonder to where? When change happens in days, it’s got to be hard to pick a new home, and there are only so many homes to choose from.
Namfon, our friend, biologist and number one fishing cat crusader, tells us that this land sells for cheap. Just U.S. $80 can rent one pond for a year, and $1,700 could rent all known fishing cat hotspots in the area for the same amount of time.
How frustrating and inspiring to know that such a small sum of money can potentially help “buy time” for the fishing cat as we endeavor for more sustainable solutions.
Seeing new tracks in the area, even as a land of fish changes to a land of shrimp, makes us hope that the fishing cat can make it. We hear fishing cats even like the freshly-drained ponds and the fish they leave behind, but we know this is a temporary advantage.
We need your help to save the elusive fishing cat! Just $80 USD can rent one pond for a year, and $1,700 could rent all known fishing cat hotspots in the area for the same amount of time!! Imagine what one whole year of research could do for this species…
>>Donate to CAT in WATER today! (specify in the note field that you’d like your donation to go to the fishing cat ponds)