After nearly an year in the making, the Symposium on the Wild Cats of South Asia, Past and Present was underway. It was organised by the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS), and was held between the 2nd and 3rd of November 2015.
It’s as usual been a while, but it’s not my fault, really. The weather has been gloomy and it’s raining constantly. Rain = sleepiness and laziness. It does not equal blog post writing.
Anyway, the monsoon winds blew Fiona Fern in all the way from London. Fiona is a visiting researcher from England, who has worked with fishing cat and other small cats at The Aspinall Foundation, Port Lympne. Working with her on my project has been a blast! We’ve been corresponding over email for a while, and she finally landed here for three months.
A question I get asked a lot is, “how does a fishing cat fish?”. It’s a pretty legit question right. It’s impossible not to think of a cat sitting at the edge of a pond with a fishing rod and a little outfit, much like Beatrix Potter’s Mr. Jeremy Fisher. The first time I heard of fishing cats I thought the exact same thing. But I assure you, fishing cats have a much wider range of fishing techniques. So far I have identified three. Let me elaborate.
After more than an year of running around, getting all the appropriate permits and letters, I am finally back. Yes, I do have to write about the collaring last year, but I, very sheepishly admit that I got a little lazy with the blog posts!
So anyway, I have my permits, my collars are on the way and I am sitting in office, when I get a call from UPS. My camera’s had arrived, and they would be delivered the next day! It was like Christmas. I was literally squealing and bouncing off the walls at work, temporarily stunning my colleagues who thought that I had finally lost my marbles.
With my research permit in hand, I was off to find myself a fishing cat!
It was one of the most exciting moments of my life. I was finally getting away from my desk and that awful chair! I’m sure you all know what I mean. Having a lumpy chair to sit on all day is the WORST! You spend more time trying to get comfortable than actually doing work. Anyway, I was all excited. I had my homemade trap cage all ready for the field, my collars were programmed to perfection and my equipment was all neatly packed in a bag. I was ready to collar my first fishing cat.
It was a Friday. A very boring, Friday. Well, at least I think it was a Friday… Either way, it was a dull day. I was doing my usual annoy the dogs routine when I got a call.
A call about a fishing cat.