Decoding Fishing Cat Reproduction

Study looks to uncover the basic biology and reproductive traits of this native Southeast Asian cat.

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Fishing cats are a wildcat species living in wetland habitats in Southeast Asia. Little is known about the species except that suburban growth is overtaking much of its native habitat.

In North America, only 79 fishing cats are left and they all live in captivity. It seems that the species has difficulty reproducing in captive environments.

To learn more about why fishing cats have trouble breeding in captivity, Dr. JoGayle Howard at the Smithsonians National Zoo is studying the basic biology and reproductive traits of the cat, with funding from the Morris Animal Foundation.

This is a great study because it allows us to understand the fishing cats reproductive traits in the best way possible, says Dr. Howard. We can characterize their traits and develop assisted breeding protocols for genetic management.

Posted: Nov. 24, 2005, 5a.m. EST

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