In Sri Lanka, A Wild Cat Thrives in the Unlikely Urban Jungle of Colombo

At his home in Thimbirigasyaya, a highly residential area in the heart of Sri Lanka’s commercial capital Colombo, Eshan Witana keeps expensive Japanese koi fish, a species of carp (Cyprinus rubrofuscus), in a pond.

But to his dismay, these fish started to disappear after nightfall. So he set up security cameras trained on the pond, and soon identified the thief: a young fishing cat, Prionailurus viverrinus.

Recognizing the opportunity to study the behavior of this wild cat in an urban setting, Anya Ratnayaka of the Urban Fishing Cat Conservation Project started stocking Tudawe’s pond with less expensive fish. A few weeks later, the same fishing cat got stuck in a nearby drainpipe and was rescued by a team from Sri Lanka’s Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC).

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