ArticlePDF Available

Recent sightings of fishing cats in Thailand

  • Spatial Informatics Group

Abstract and Figures

Formerly occurring widely over most of Southeast Asia, fishing cats Prionailurus viverrinus now appear to have the second most restricted range of wild felids in the region. We conducted surveys for fishing cats in four locations in peninsular Thailand between 2003 and 2009. Survey methods consisted of interviews, searches for signs and the use of automated camera traps. We documented fishing cats at Thale Noi Non-hunting Area and Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park and found no evidence of the species at Klong Saeng and Maenam Pachi Wildlife Sanctuaries. Priority actions for conserving fishing cats include surveying additional areas of potential occurrence and working with communities to disrupt direct persecution of the species.
Content may be subject to copyright.
CATnews 51 Autumn 2009
short communication
Recent sightings of shing cats
in Thailand
Formerly occurring widely over most of Southeast Asia, fishing cats Prionailurus
viverrinus now appear to have the second most restricted range of wild felids in the
region. We conducted surveys for fishing cats in four locations in peninsular Thailand
between 2003 and 2009. Survey methods consisted of interviews, searches for signs
and the use of automated camera traps. We documented fishing cats at Thale Noi
Non-hunting Area and Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park and found no evidence of the
species at Klong Saeng and Maenam Pachi Wildlife Sanctuaries. Priority actions for
conserving fishing cats include surveying additional areas of potential occurrence
and working with communities to disrupt direct persecution of the species.
In late 2008 the status of fishing cats was
raised from ’Vulnerable’ to ’Endangered’
on the IUCN Red List. International trade is
controlled and the species is included in Ap-
pendix II of CITES. Frequent development,
land conversion and over-fishing of the cats’
wetland habitats have resulted in extensive
habitat loss and population fragmentation
throughout their range.
A recent comprehensive review of small felids
in Southeast Asia (Povey et al. 2009) conclud-
ed that fishing cats have the second smallest
range among the nine species of small cats.
Range maps show that fishing cats were dis-
tributed from northern Thailand to the Isth-
mus of Kra; fishing cats occurred historically
in southernmost Thailand and peninsular Ma-
laysia. Prior to this study, we could only find
three credible records of fishing cats reported
from Thailand in the last 15 years: from Khao
Yai National Park (T. Redford, pers. comm.),
Thale Noi Non-hunting Area (J. Murray, pers.
comm.), and Kaeng Krachan National Park (D.
Ngoprasert, pers. comm.).
The purpose of this paper is to report on the
results of recent surveys for fishing cats in
We attempted to determine the presence or
absence of fishing cats at several sites by
conducting semi-structured interviews with
local residents and protected area staff,
searching for signs (i.e., scats and tracks) and
using camera traps.
Interview surveys targeted local farmers,
fishermen, cattle herders and hunters in or-
der to gather general information about the
occurrence of fishing cats, their prey species
and other wildlife.
Sign surveys focused on stream and lake edg-
es, mangrove forest areas, rice paddies and
other sites where fishing cat occurrence was
reported by local residents. Where detected,
tracks thought to be those of fishing cats were
measured and permanently recorded either by
photograph or plaster cast. A representative
number of scats from surveyed areas were
collected and washed, with any discernable
remains being retained for future analysis.
Camera-trap surveys focused on sites where
we found likely signs of fishing cats, where
locals had reported seeing fishing cats, and
on those consistent with published descrip-
tions of fishing cat habitat. Cameras were set
in groups of 1-3, usually directed toward a
staked chicken carcass used as bait. Camera
traps were active from 1700-0800.
Surveys for Fishing Cats: 2003-2005
In 2003 we began a series of surveys with
the objective of documenting fishing cats in
areas where they were likely to occur based
on habitat composition, historical records
and expert opinion (Fig. 1). We started with
surveys in Klong Saeng Wildlife Sanctuary
(9.2°N, 98.7°E) where fishing cats had pre-
viously been recorded on the basis of the
occurrence of tracks (Kanchanasaka 2001).
From December 2003 through April 2004 we
logged 528 camera trap-nights at 24 loca-
tions near the Ratchaprapa reservoir in the
sanctuary. Neither camera traps nor our sign
surveys provided evidence of fishing cats at
Klong Saeng.
From May through September 2005 we car-
ried out another series of surveys in Maenam
Pachi Wildlife Sanctuary where local people
reported fishing cat occurrence. In addition
to extensive interviews and sign surveys, we
walked 60 km of trails and streams searching
for signs and logged 540 camera trap-nights
at four locations. We did not find any evi-
dence of fishing cats in Maenam Pachi.
Recent Records of Fishing Cat Occur-
rence in Thailand
Starting in May 2006, we conducted a series
of interviews, sign surveys and camera-trap
surveys at the Thale Noi Non-Hunting Area in
peninsular Thailand. Thale Noi (7.71-8.02°N,
100.03-l00.25°E) is part of a large inland es-
tuarine system in Pattalung Province, South-
ern Thailand. The area is approximately 457
km² and includes Thailand’s first RAMSAR
site, Kuan Khi Sian, chartered in 1997. Ex-
tensive freshwater swamp forests surround
the area’s most recognizable feature, a large
open-water lake. ‘Kuans’, small islands that
occur in the swamp forest, provide habitat for
a wide range of wetland species including
fishing cats.
After documenting tracks consistent with
those of fishing cats at several locations in
the southern part of Thale Noi, we record-
ed a single male fishing cat on our camera
traps (7.76°N, 100.16°E; Fig. 2) on 15 Febru-
ary 2007. The animal had swum about 10 m
from shore to a ’shoal’ of mud where we had
placed the camera trap.
In December 2008 we began surveys near the
southern end of Khao Sam Roi Yot National
Park (12.08-12.31°N, 99.87-100.04°E), in
Prachuap Khiri Khan Province. Khao Sam Roi
Yot is a coastal protected area of 98 km2 with
marine and terrestrial components. The park’s
vegetation consists of scrubby mixed deci-
dous forest on karst formations, limited areas
of mangrove and swamp forest, and active
and fallow agricultural areas. Throughout the
Fig. 1. Areas surveyed for fishing cats in
CATnews 51 Autumn 2009
recent sightings of fishing cats in Thailand
extensive agricultural areas, more structural-
ly developed patches of palms, tamarinds and
various other tree species appear to serve as
patches of ‘refuge’ habitat for species such
as fishing cats during the day.
On our first visit local residents reported en-
countering fishing cat tracks frequently at
several locations inside and outside the park.
We visited two residences at Kung Tanode vil-
lage where two male fishing cats (reportedly
siblings collected from a local rice field) were
being kept in enclosures. Sign surveys at the
location where the kittens were reportedly
collected revealed copious tracks and scats
of fishing cats left by at least two individuals
(apparently an adult female and her kitten).
After just two nights of camera trapping in
this area, on 6 January 2009 we recorded a
female fishing cat with her kitten (12.11°N,
99.94°E; Fig. 3). Subsequent camera-trap sur-
veys and live captures (carried out as part of a
concurrent study of fishing cat ecology) have
documented at least 16 individuals using this
area and numerous signs of reproduction, in-
cluding the occurrence of young with adults
and signs of current and previous lactation in
females examined during captures.
Threats to Fishing Cats
Local attitudes towards fishing cats in the two
areas with confirmed presence range from
ambivalence to hostility. Fishing cats have
been known to take chickens, which may
be the chief motivation for the direct threats
such as hunting and poisoning that target this
species. Hunting is mainly carried out through
the use of snares along travel routes whereas
poisoning is either intentional (carried out by
poisoning chicken carcasses that cats are
likely to eat around households) or the result
of ingesting pesticides used to control inva-
sive snails in local rice fields. Our interviews
and field observations have revealed that
fishing cats, otters Lutra spp., leopard cats
Prionailurus bengalensis, large Indian civets
Viverra zibetha, and common palm civets
Paradoxurus hermaphroditus are all hunted
for food or captured for the pet trade.
Indirect threats to fishing cats and other car-
nivores in the areas surveyed include habitat
loss and its impact on prey populations. Habi-
tat loss is primarily driven by the extensive
conversion of natural habitat for plantations,
paddies and shrimp-farming ponds. Where
shrimp farming takes place, effluent waste
water from these operations is routinely
pumped into neighboring waterways or open
fields, further disrupting natural systems.
Prey populations are subject to overfishing,
depletion of birds through the extensive use
of mist nets, and indiscriminate snaring of a
wide variety of species. Nylon fishing nets
and mist nets discarded in lakes, waterways,
and agricultural areas pose an additional
threat to the area’s wildlife.
Conservation Implications
The apparent absence of fishing cats from the
two inland areas surveyed is consistent with
a growing body of anecdotal evidence of local
extinctions in areas where the species once
occurrred. It is alarming that a great amount
of general carnivore survey effort over the
last 15 years has yielded only a handful of
confirmed records of fishing cats. However,
the occurrences reported here are encourag-
ing in that they demonstrate that fishing cats
appear to be capable of persisting in areas
of high human activity and impact. We are
hopeful that surveys in the near future will
confirm the occurrence of fishing cats in simi-
lar coastal landscapes.
While resources for suppressing threats to
fishing cats are limited, the fact that fishing
cat home ranges can be relatively small (2-4
km2 in this area; Passanan Cutter, unpubl.
data) means that targeted efforts over rela-
tively small areas may result in measurable
benefits for local subpopulations.
Support for this project was provided by the Smith-
sonian’s National Zoological Park, the Cincinnati
Zoo & Botanical Garden, the Minnesota Zoo, the
Rufford Small Grant Foundation, the Wildlife Con-
servation Society and the Panthera Small Cat Con-
servation Fund. We are grateful to the Thailand
Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant
Conservation for their support of the project and
to Dr. Theerapat Prayurasidhi for suggesting closer
evaluation of the Khao Sam Roi Yot site. Drs. Wil-
liam Swanson, David Smith, and Francesca Cuth-
bert provided helpful comments on earlier drafts of
this manuscript.
Kanchanasaka B. 2001. Diversity and distribution
of carnivores in Klong Saeng Wildlife Sanctu-
ary. Wildlife Research Division Annual Report.
Povey K., Howard J. G., Sunarto, Ngoprasert J. G.,
Reed D., Wilting A., Lynam A., Haidai I., Long
B., Johnson A., Cheyne S., Breitenmoser C.,
Holzer L. & Byers O. 2009. Clouded Leopard
and Small Felid Conservation Summit Final
Report. IUCN/SSC Conservation Breeding Spe-
cialist Group, Apple Valley, MN.
1 University of Minnesota, Conservation Biology
Graduate Program, Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A.
Fig. 2. Male fishing cat captured in Thale Noi Non-Hunting Area
on 15 February 2007 (Photo P. Cutter).
Fig. 3. Female fishing cat with a cub captured south of Khao Sam Roi
Yot National Park on 6 January 2009 (Photo P. Cutter).
... Thailand may be one of the important strongholds for Fishing Cat and a regional priority range country for its conservation-it has few degraded habitats, at least those that are potentially suitable for Fishing Cat, e.g., in coastal mangroves, within large protected areas with a high protection level and law enforcement measures, and populations of ecologically similar species like otters. Nevertheless, between 1996 and 2011, there were only a few targeted surveys for Fishing Cat that yielded confirmed records and these were mainly in and around Khao Sam Roi Yot (SRY) and Thale Noi Non-hunting Area (Cutter & Cutter 2009;Tantipisanuh et al. 2014; Fig. 1). Results of radio telemetry research on 23 radio-collared Fishing Cats in an area of approximately 35km 2 suggested that SRY was a stronghold for the Fishing Cat in Thailand (Cutter & Cutter 2009;Cutter 2015;Patumrattanathan 2015). ...
... Nevertheless, between 1996 and 2011, there were only a few targeted surveys for Fishing Cat that yielded confirmed records and these were mainly in and around Khao Sam Roi Yot (SRY) and Thale Noi Non-hunting Area (Cutter & Cutter 2009;Tantipisanuh et al. 2014; Fig. 1). Results of radio telemetry research on 23 radio-collared Fishing Cats in an area of approximately 35km 2 suggested that SRY was a stronghold for the Fishing Cat in Thailand (Cutter & Cutter 2009;Cutter 2015;Patumrattanathan 2015). In the same area, however, negative interaction with people on livestock-raiding led to retribution killings of at least five out of 16 Fishing Cats monitored during this study (Cutter 2015). ...
... In a review of the status of small cats in Thailand , Fishing Cat rarely occurred in protected areas with no significant wetland habitats where most of camera trap surveys were conducted, although none of these surveys had specifically targeted Fishing Cat, except that of Cutter & Cutter (2009). Wetland habitats such as mangrove and peat swamp which were largely under-surveyed may still hold some remaining Fishing Cat populations and other threatened small carnivores and therefore require immediate attention for surveys ). ...
Full-text available
Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrinus is threatened throughout its range by habitat loss, persecution, and non-targeted hunting; it is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Even basic distribution data are still lacking in many parts of its range, particularly in southeastern Asia where most wildlife surveys focus on large charismatic carnivores in protected habitats, typically inland blocks of evergreen or semi-evergreen and deciduous forests. This report aims to update on distribution and status of Fishing Cat in Thailand. Historic (the 1980s) and current (2007–2017) records from Thailand were compiled based on personal communications, local news agencies, social media pages, and publications. The current Thai Fishing Cat distribution seems to be highly fragmented and mostly in coastal wetlands of the Inner Gulf of Thailand and the Thai-Malay Peninsula with one confirmed record from a riverine habitat in central Thailand. No confirmed records came from protected forested areas—perhaps these are marginal habitat for Fishing Cat. Nevertheless, there were no targeted surveys in those areas. Fishing Cat was so far not detected from on-going otters’ targeted camera trap surveys along Thailand’s Andaman coast. Future surveys should focus on coastal and inland wetlands to expedite the discovery of remaining populations before these are extirpated.
... One study at Halabala Wildlife Sanctuary was undertaken to sample overall diversity of mammals ( Kitamura et al., 2010). Three studies at Khao Sok, Khao Sam Roi Yod and Thale Noi were done specifi cally to collect ecological information on fi shing cats (Prionailurus viverrinus;Cutter & Cutter, 2009). For 20 other studies (83%), the objective was to collect information on large cats, especially tigers, and other large mammals, so records of small cats were incidental. ...
... At Khao Sam Roi Yod, cameras were operated only between 1700-0800 hours to prevent theft (Cutter & Cutter, 2009). The small number of records of fi shing cat (n = 6) from camera-traps there were all between 1900-0500 hours, but additional daytime sampling (and a lack of records during the day) would be required to confi rm whether the activity pattern is nocturnal. ...
Full-text available
The behaviour of wild cats is poorly understood. Using camera-trapping, we quantified temporal overlap among seven species of Asian wild cats, including tiger Panthera tigris and leopard Panthera pardus. Based on time stamp data from 780 camera-traps and 24 study sites from 14 protected areas across Thailand, we assessed terrestrial activity patterns and temporal overlap in habitat use. For quantifying overlap, we used a coefficient estimator    that allows for calculation of confidence intervals. Our study provided insight into temporal interactions among species of wild cats, particularly between small cats and their larger cat relatives. We found temporal habitat segregation in several small cats with some species being strongly nocturnal (≥85% records between 1800 and 0600 hours – leopard cat Prionailurus bengalensis), mostly (>50%) nocturnal (clouded leopard Neofelis nebulosa), mostly diurnal (>50% records between 0600 and 1800 hours – Asiatic golden cat Catopuma temminckii), or strongly (≥85%) diurnal (marbled cat Pardofelis marmorata). We found high temporal overlap (    ≥ 0.80) between leopard cat and clouded leopard (95% CI = 0.77–0.91), Asiatic golden cat and leopard (95% CI = 0.69–0.87), Asiatic golden cat and tiger (95% CI = 0.72–0.90), and clouded leopard and tiger (95% CI = 0.69–0.85). Our research demonstrates that temporal habitat or niche segregation may be an important process in maintaining the functioning of diverse predator guilds in tropical forests. We developed several avoidance or overlap hypotheses that can explain the patterns observed in our study and that should be further tested.
... The location where the Fishing Cat was recorded is a dry forest road in Bhabar Forest, which contrasts with records in wetlands across southern and southeastern Asia (e.g., Cutter & Cutter 2009 (2016) did not record the species in Parsa NP. This survey covered only a small area (~20km 2 ), targeting two sites close to rivers and streams. ...
Full-text available
Twelve cat species were recorded in Nepal including the largest, Tiger Panthera tigris, and the smallest, Rusty-spotted Cat Prionailurus rubiginosus. There is more research on the Panthera species than on small wild cats; consequently, the conservation status, distribution, and ecology of small cat species are poorly known. In this article, we report on the first photographic evidence of Clouded Leopard Neofelis nebulosa and Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrinus in Parsa National Park in southern central Nepal during a camera trap survey targeted at the tiger between 2014 and 2016. There were only single detections of each species; this does not give enough information to establish distribution or conservation status of either of the species in Parsa National Park. Further targeted surveys are needed to establish the significance of this protected area for the conservation of these two species.
... Appendix 1 Actions, Indicators, and Timelines for Tiger Conservation Actions (con't) (Kanchanasaka, 2001) 7, 8 -(Cutter, P. and P.G. Cutter, 2010) Appendix 4 Survey on Tiger Status in 8 Protected Areas by Camera Traps ...
Full-text available
In 2004, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation issued Thailand’s first official tiger action plan. In the years since then, Thailand has increased tiger conservation efforts and has undertaken more rigorous enforcement, monitoring, and research efforts—especially at the tiger source site in Western Thailand. These efforts include the Smart Patrol System for rigorous patrol and law enforcement monitoring, advanced tiger and prey population monitoring systems as important management response indicators, and increased ecological research to better understand tiger ecology and biology under a Southeast Asian environment. As a result, Thailand is now regarded as a leader in tiger conservation under best practice, science, and policy with much to contribute to the global tiger conservation effort. Central challenges in the coming years are to (1) ensure that current protection and monitoring systems are sustained in source and potential source sites, (2) expand these systems to cover the whole priority landscapes including the Western Forest Complex – Tenasserim and Dong Phayayen – Khao Yai Forest Complexes, and (3) establish the systems in other sites and landscapes where tigers still occur. Thailand is pleased to present this twelve year revision of Thailand’s National Tiger Action Plan produced in consultation with other government agencies, academics, and non-governmental organizations. This plan consists of two parts. The first is a review of the ecology and conservation status of tigers in Thailand and a discussion of the conservation challenges that tigers face. The second part is a detailed description of the visions and goals, recommended actions for achieving those goals, details indicators, means of verification, and the anticipated timeframe for each action. This section also details a specific strategy for implementing the plan. The goals and associated actions for achieving them are arranged under the following five themes: 1) Strengthening direct conservation action and enforcement 2) Building capacity based on successful models 3) Strengthening monitoring, research, and information management 4) Promoting education, awareness, and public participation 5) Strategic financing for tiger conservation. Accompanying each goal are one or more key points meant to provide the rationale and context for recommended actions. The success of this plan rests on the effective implementation of the recommended actions through an adaptive management process of periodic evaluation and modification of goals and actions. Adaptive management recognizes that learning is a part of management. To this end, a dedicated Tiger Conservation Committee will be formed and entrusted with ongoing evaluation and implementation of the plan.
... The wetland dependent endangered Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrinus (Bennett, 1833), once widespread throughout Southeast and southern Asia, now has a discontinuous distribution in Java, Thailand, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal (Pocock 1939; Cutter & Cutter 2010; Duckworth et al. 2010; Mukherjee et al. 2010 Mukherjee et al. , 2012 Royan 2010). Available evidence suggests a recent widespread and continuing decrease in range and abundance, with loss of wetland area and quality, overfishing and direct human persecution most often cited as causes (Nowell & Jackson 1996; Mukherjee et al. 2010 Mukherjee et al. , 2012). ...
Full-text available
p>The status of the Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrinus in Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, Nepal was assessed by camera trapping and pugmark searches from 2011 to 2014. The reserve is a highly dynamic and unstable snow-fed braided river system with many anabranches and islands. Evidence of Fishing Cats was found throughout most of the reserve. They were probably more abundant on the eastern side, among the islands of the main river channel, and in the adjacent buffer zone where there was a chain of fishponds and marsh areas fed by seepage from the main river channel. Evidence of Fishing Cats was found up to 6km north of the reserve on the Koshi River but not beyond this. The population is probably small and may be isolated but given the endangered status of the species, is significant. The main likely threats identified are wetland and riparian habitat deterioration caused by over exploitation and illegal grazing by villagers, overfishing of wetlands and rivers within the reserve, and direct persecution arising from perceived conflicts with fish farming and poultry husbandry. Required conservation actions are discussed. </div
Full-text available
The fishing cat ( Prionailurus viverrinus ) is a vulnerable wild felid that is currently under threat from habitat destruction and other human activities. The zoo provides insurance to ensure the survival of the fishing cat population. Creating a biobank of fishing cats is a critical component of recent zoo strategies for securely stocking cell samples for long-term survival. Here, our goal was to compare cell biobanking techniques (tissue collection, primary culture, and reprogramming) and tissue sources (ear skin, abdominal skin, testis) from captive ( n = 6)/natural ( n = 6) vs. living ( n = 8)/postmortem ( n = 4) fishing cats. First, we show that dermal fibroblasts from the medial border of the helix of the ear pinna and abdominal tissues of living fishing cats can be obtained, whereas postmortem animals provided far fewer fibroblasts from the ears than from the testes. Furthermore, we can extract putative adult spermatogonial stem cells from the postmortem fishing cat's testes. The main barrier to expanding adult fibroblasts was early senescence, which can be overcome by overexpressing reprogramming factors through felid-specific transfection programs, though we demonstrated that reaching iPSC state from adult fibroblasts of fishing cats was ineffective with current virus-free mammal-based induction approaches. Taken together, the success of isolating and expanding primary cells is dependent on a number of factors, including tissue sources, tissue handling, and nature of limited replicative lifespan of the adult fibroblasts. This study provides recommendations for tissue collection and culture procedures for zoological research to facilitate the preservation of cells from both postmortem and living felids.
Full-text available
Carnivore protoparvovirus-1 (CPPV-1), a viral species containing feline panleukopenia virus (FPV) and canine parvovirus (CPV) variants, are widely spread among domestic and wild carnivores causing systemic fatal diseases. Wild fishing cats (Prionailurus viverrinus), a globally vulnerable species, have been found dead. Postmortem examination of the carcasses revealed lesions in intestine, spleen and kidney. CPPV-1 antigen identification in these tissues, using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and immunohistochemistry (IHC), supported the infection by the virus. PCR- and IHC-positivity in kidney tissues revealed atypical localization of the virus while in situ hybridization (ISH) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) with the pop-off technique confirmed the first description of viral localization in kidneys. Complete genome characterization and deduced amino acid analysis of the obtained CPPV-1 from the fishing cats revealed FPV as a causative agent. The detected FPV sequences showed amino acid mutations at I566M and M569R in the capsid protein. Phylogenetic and evolutionary analyses of complete coding genome sequences revealed that the fishing cat CPPV-1 genomes are genetically clustered to the FPV genomes isolated from domestic cats in Thailand. Since the 1970s, these genomes have also been shown to share a genetic evolution with Chinese FPV strains. This study is the first evidence of CPPV-1 infection in fishing cats and it is the first to show its localization in the kidneys. These findings support the multi-host range of this parvovirus and suggest fatal CPPV-1 infections may result in other vulnerable wild carnivores.
Full-text available
The Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrinus is classified as Endangered in the IUCN Red List and yet its distribution range within India is not resolved. In spite of its potential habitat being present in coastal Kerala, there are only a few, unsubstantiated records of the cat. Moreover, its occurrence in Sri Lanka strengthens the possibility of its presence (historical or current population) in southern India, including Kerala. This survey was conducted to assess the occurrence of the Fishing Cat in coastal Kerala through personal informal interviews with local people and molecular analysis of scats. The study failed to find any evidence of the occurrence of Fishing Cat in the coastal areas of Kerala. We discuss two possibilities - one, of the species existing earlier but driven to extinction in recent decades, due to high levels of land conversion through anthropogenic activities in these areas and the other of the Fishing Cat having never occurred in coastal Kerala. A speculative reasoning for its absence from the region could be related to the difference in salinity levels between the eastern and western coasts of India which has already been documented. Moreover, fewer freshwater sources merge into the sea in coastal areas of Kerala as compared to the eastern coast of India. This could limit the distribution of the Fishing Cat. The argument was also supported by the lack of any authentic report till date or of local names for the Fishing Cat in the region.
Bayesian networks (BN) have been increasingly used for habitat suitability modeling of threatened species due to their potential to construct robust models with limited survey data. However, previous applications of this approach have only occurred in countries where human and budget resources are highly available, but the highest concentrations of threatened vertebrates globally are located in the tropics where resources are much more limited. We assessed the effectiveness of Bayesian networks in generating habitat suitability models in Thailand, a biodiversity-rich country where the knowledge base is typically sparse for a wide range of threatened species. The Bayesian network approach was used to generate habitat suitability maps for 52 threatened vertebrate species in Thailand, using a range of evidence types, from relatively well-documented species with good local knowledge to poorly documented species, with few local experts. Published information and expert knowledge were used to define habitat requirements. Focal species were categorized into 22 groups based on known habitat preferences, and then habitat suitability models were constructed with outcomes represented spatially. Models had a consistent structure with three major components: potential habitat, known range, and threat level. Model classification sensitivity was tested using presence-only field data for 21 species. Habitat models for 12 species were relatively sensitive (.70% congruency between observed and predicted locations), three were moderately congruent, and six were poor. Classification sensitivity tended to be high for bird models and moderate for mammals, whereas sensitivity for reptiles was low, presumably reflecting the relatively poor knowledge base for reptiles in the region. Bayesian network models show significant potential for biodiversity-rich regions with scarce resources, although they require further refinement and testing. It is possible that one detailed ecological study is sufficient to develop a model with reasonable sensitivity, but BN models for species groups with no quantitative data continue to be problematic.
Diversity and distribution of carnivores in Klong Saeng Wildlife Sanctuary
  • B Kanchanasaka
Kanchanasaka B. 2001. Diversity and distribution of carnivores in Klong Saeng Wildlife Sanctuary. Wildlife Research Division Annual Report.