Oral presentation- Open Session 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Threats to fishing cats and Indian smooth-coated otters in Godavari mangroves (#41)

Srikanth Mannepuri 1
  1. Guardians of Earth Foundation, Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, India

The Godavari mangroves are a mangrove wetland in India’s Andhra Pradesh state. It is the second largest mangrove forest along the east coast of India after Sundarbans mangrove forest in West Bengal. Godavari mangroves cover an estimated area of 371 km2 and also these mangroves supporting the largest number of fishing cats and smooth-coated otters in the east coast of India. As per the forest department census records, there is a deep decline of (>75%) in the population of both the species during the last decade. My study area includes Godavari mangroves and also mangroves adjoining 42 villages. To know the threats faced by fishing cats and smooth-coated otters in this region, I initially conducted an indirect questionnaire survey in mangrove forest adjoining 42 villages followed by sign survey at the creek fishing zones and also aquaculture influenced areas present adjoining the Godavari mangroves. According to the obtained information of both indirect questionnaire and sign survey I placed hide-outs at surveyed points and documented the kills of fishing cats and otters in this Godavari mangrove region and also while documenting the process of threats I documented standard 15 minutes of very rare video footage of fishing cats and smooth-coated otters in this region. According to the results of continuous 3 years of study (2014-2017), animal and human conflict, poaching, creek fishing, habitat destruction, and effluent water release into creeks are becoming the major threats for decline of these threatened species in this Godavari mangrove region.