Endangered wild cat mistaken for ‘young tiger’, causes panic in Greater Noida
According to district forest officer PK Srivastava, pug marks of a fishing cat, also known as Prionailurus viverrinus, were found on Tuesday morning in the farmland adjacent to Hotel Radisson Blue in Kasna, Greater Noida — a drain divides Hotel Radisson Blue and Le Grand Regency hotel.Updated: Nov 28, 2018 10:32 IST
A call made on police helpline (100) about a “young tiger” being spotted in Kasna area of Greater Noida on Tuesday sent the police and forest officials on a wild chase. The animal turned out to be a fishing cat, an endangered species that has been sighted after a gap of six years.
According to Kasna police, the anonymous caller informed the police that a “young tiger” has been spotted from one of the balconies of Le Grand Regency hotel, near a drain in Kasna. Soon, a grainy picture of the animal started circulating on social media, which caused further panic among residents.
“We received a call around 11am that a tiger was spotted near a vacant farmland in Kasna. A team was dispatched to the spot immediately but we did not find any animal there. We reported the incident to the forest officials,” Sundar Singh, senior sub inspector, Kasna police station, said.
“We were told a tiger was spotted by villagers and a photo was soon circulated on social media,” Pushkar Kumar, a guard posted at one of the residential societies in Kasna, said.
However, a spot check by Hindustan Times revealed that there is no village in the mentioned area and area is mainly covered in bushes on the both sides of the drain.
According to district forest officer PK Srivastava, pug marks of a fishing cat, also known as Prionailurus viverrinus, were found on Tuesday morning in the farmland adjacent to Hotel Radisson Blue in Kasna — a drain divides Hotel Radisson Blue and Le Grand Regency hotel.
The animal, which is primarily found in south and south east Asia, was listed as an endangered species in 2016 as it is threatened by decreasing habitat due to increasing urbanisation and destruction of forests.
“We visited the spot and found pug marks of the fishing cat. It primarily feeds on fish and, hence, the name. We suspect that it must have ventured into the urban area in search of food in the drain,” PK Srivastava said.
The fishing cat, once known to inhabit the jungle areas of Greater Noida, has been spotted after six years, according to forest officials. Another striking feature of this species is its resemblance to a tiger cub. Forest officials said the animal is carnivorous but not a man eater.
“This animal was last spotted in Chuharpur village of Greater Noida in 2012. It is a shy animal and avoids humans. Unless provoked, it will not hurt anyone,” Srivastava said.
Officials said the common habitat of this species is the Hindon floodplains and villages adjacent to the Yamuna. Conservationists say there has been no census on the fishing cat and it is difficult to estimate their number in the west UP belt.
“Greater Noida is increasingly witnessing destruction of jungles and loss of habitat of many wild animals. Fishing cats were common a decade ago but due to the lack of census, we don’t know how many are left. The animal should be best left unprovoked,” said Naresh Kadyan, chairman, People for Animals.
First Published: Nov 28, 2018 10:32 IST