Zoo scientist John Seidensticker is working with Sri Lankan conservationbiologists to study the distribution and ecology of the fishing cat(Prionailurus viverrinus) and the rusty spotted cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus), another little-known small cat, in suburban habitats of Sri Lanka. This will represent the first detailed study of these species and the results will aid their conservation.
It will also raise awareness of the conservation needs of these charismatic cats, which already have semi-flagship status in Sri Lanka. The results will be used to develop a conservation strategy for the cats and other medium-sized carnivores to be integrated into urban development plans.
The primary methodology of the study, outlined in the Research Proposal, is camera-trapping, which allows the scientists to capture images of these elusive nocturnal animals to determine their distribution and abundance.
Fishing cats are one of two cat species on the Zoo's new Asia Trail. This research is thus an integral part of the Asian Trail program.