Small Wild Cat Conservation Foundation ~ June 2024 Newsletter

Small Wild Cat Conservation Foundation ~ June 2024 Newsletter

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Small wild cat news from the Pampas Cat, Manul (Pallas's Cat) and Fishing Cat working groups.

Copyright © 2024 Small Wild Cat Conservation Foundation (SWCCF), All rights reserved.

Republished with kind permission from Jim Sanderson, SWCCF.

Hen house repaired & Jaguarundi, Margay and Ocelot saved 

by Cindy Hurtado and Alvaro Garcia

Pampas Cat Working Group

Pampas Cat Working Group with repaired hen house


In Ecuador, a local resident shows off her spouse's impressive hen house repairs. Using materials supplied by Cristian Barros (left), Japu Foundation, chickens are protected and the possibility of predation by Jaguarundi, Margay, and Ocelot is permanently neutralized. Problem solved. The poster showing the Jaguarundi and Margay is proudly displayed. We inspected another nine repaired hen houses in the rural village adjacent to the private protected area administered by Sacha, a local NGO, and one of our many partners in Ecuador.

Pampas Cat Working Group

Manul conservation takes center stage in Iran

by Pouyan Behnoud

Manul Working Group

Manul Working Group Iran


On the occasion of International Day for Biological Diversity, the first national event dedicated to the conference and collaborative workshop on the protection of small cats in Iran was held for two days by the Department of Environment and Wildlife of Yazd Province.  The theme of this collaborative conference and workshop was the conservation and development of an action plan for six species of small cats in Iran, with a particular focus on the Manul [Pallas's cat].  This event included the participation of four Iranian members of the Manul Working Group: Pooriya Sepahvand, Niloufar Raeesi Chahartaghi, Mohammad Ali Adibi, and Pouyan Behnoud, along with experts from the Environmental Protection Organization of Iran from across the country.  The collaborative workshop took place in Nir village and the Shirkouh Wildlife Sanctuary in Taft County.

During this joint conference and workshop, experts from the government sector, researchers, and conservationists exchanged insights and opinions on six species of small cats in Iran [Asiatic wildcat, Caracal, Eurasian lynx, Jungle cat, Manul, Sand cat].  The primary focus was on the protection and conservation of Manul, an iconic species in the region.  In addition to these expert discussions, the event featured an educational segment where children and teenagers learned about Manul, the habitats of small cats in Iran, and the various dangers and threats these felines face.  This educational initiative aimed to raise awareness and foster a sense of stewardship among the younger generation regarding the conservation of these unique species.

The Shirkouh Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Taft County, Yazd Province, is situated in the central desert of Iran.

Manul Working Group

Ending barbaric ritual hunting in India

by Tiasa Adhya

Fishing Cat Conservation Alliance

Fishing Cat in Captivity by Fishing Cat Conservation Alliance


In 2016, on World Environment Day, 5th June, my colleagues at Human and Environment Alliance League (HEAL), Meghna Banerjee and Suvrajyoti Chatterjee, received news of mass gatherings of humans and the wild animals they hunted. My colleagues saw dozens of Fishing cats, Jungle cats and Water monitor lizards killed and being skinned, cooked and eaten in broad daylight. These were ritualistic hunters and their custom is hunting and consuming wild animals.

According to tradition, tribal hunters hunted and together feasted on certain days of the year marked by a full moon. They traveled miles on foot to meet each other and hunted on the journey. Hunt dates would typically fall in the scorching summer months. During hunts, wild animals were chased; those which were old and weak would fall behind and be killed. Their niches would be filled by new recruits from the wild populations and the hunter's hunger would be satiated, too.

Fast forward to the 21st century. The tribal communities have moved on and most of them are settled outside the forest of which few tracts remain. A majority of their population has been integrated into the mainstream and government schemes tend to subsidize their living. They are clad in modern dress, wear glasses, and travel on bikes and in cars. Enabled thus, they come for hunting which in today's context is meaningless. Meanwhile development has engulfed most of the natural forests and few fragments of wildlife habitat remain interspersed between heavily populated villages.

The hunters enter these fragments and hunt anything and everything. My colleagues tried to stop them on 5th June, 2016 and were severely beaten. For the next two years, out team tried to stop the hunts. We were assaulted and our cars wrecked We were battered and bruised but Meghna, my brave colleague, also a lawyer, resolved to put an end to this once and for all. After all, the beautiful legal framework India has is still one-of-a-kind in terms of the protection granted to all wildlife.

HEAL approached the Calcutta High Court and the court passed a judgement unprecedented in the global legal jurisprudence calling hunting of wild animals akin to the crime committed when a human being is slain. The High Court formed committees for all seven districts where hunting takes place and called them 'Humane Committees'. The Indian Constitution calls for all citizens to have a duty to protect and care for wildlife. The court, in a remarkable judgement, mandated all enforcement wings of the government including the administration, police and forest department along with the judiciary to work in tandem to stop hunting once and for all using both enforcement and awareness, employing both the carrot and the stick.

I was appointed by the court to be a member of the Humane Committee. In my position, I represent civil society, acting as an independent eye overseeing the work of the enforcement agencies. A representative from the tribal community is also part of each of the seven Humane Committees. It has been a little over a year now. Hunting has ceased in Howrah and Hooghly districts of Bengal, the former a famous Fishing cat haunt where I started my work on the Fishing cat. In the remaining five districts, hunter gatherings and hunts have reduced significantly. Fishing cats are breathing a little more easily. We will not stop until all hunting is terminated. Eternal vigilance will then be necessary.

Fishing Cat Conservation Alliance

Wildlife Conservation Network

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