Wetland destruction and degradation is the primary threat faced by the species (Nowell and Jackson 1996). Over 45% of protected wetlands and 94% of globally significant wetlands in Southeast Asia are considered threatened (Dugan 1993). Threats to wetlands include human settlement, draining for agriculture, pollution, and excessive hunting, wood-cutting and fishing. In addition, clearance of coastal mangroves over the past decade has been rapid in Tropical Asia. The depletion of fish stocks from over-fishing is prevalent in many Asian wetland environments and is likely to be a significant threat. While fishing cats appear relatively tolerant of modified habitats, they are also vulnerable to accidental snaring, while generally not being a commercially valued species (Nowell and Jackson 1996). Widespread indiscriminate snaring, trapping and poisoning are believed to underlie recent declines in Southeast Asia, where fishing cats have not been found even in seemingly intact wetland habitats (Southeast Asia regional mammal assessment, 2003). Kolipaka (2006) reported that fishermen have killed and eaten fishing cats which they say had taken fish from their nets. Wetlands are under-represented in the matrix of Asian protected areas (W. Duckworth pers. comm.). Fishing cat skins have been found in illegal trade in India for many years (Sunquist and Sunquist 2002, Anon 2005).
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