THE wild cat’s carcass with rope tied round its neck in Ahmed Samoo village.—Dawn
THE wild cat’s carcass with rope tied round its neck in Ahmed Samoo village.—Dawn

THATTA: A group of villagers killed a wild “fishing cat” — that was on the Red List of International Union for Conservation of Nature — after a prolonged chase and severe beating in Ahmed Samoo village in the district’s coastal area on Saturday morning.

The villagers Yameen Samoo, Ilyas Samoo and others who took part in the chase told Dawn that they went after the wild cat after it attacked and dragged away a goat from the pen of Mullah Ayaz Atari in early hours of the day.

Armed with sticks and firearms they began to search for the fishing cat through its claw prints and other marks caused by dragging the goat in the soft ground and finally spotted the animal devouring its prey in thick mangroves forest. They overpowered it after throwing nets over it and beating it ruthlessly.

The villagers then put a rope around its neck and dragged it out of the woods but it had already died from the ruthless beating with sticks and suffocation due to the rope, they said.

In 2012, presence of a fishing cat was recorded in the area around Chotiari Dam in Sindh.

Yameen Samoo, an activist, said that during 2010 super flood a small number of fishing cats had roved through violent oceanic currents from India to Thatta coastline probably saddling mangroves trunks and since then villagers spotted them time and again in and around the forest.

He said that the fishing cat lived foremost in the vicinity of wetlands, along rivers, streams, oxbow lakes, swamps and mangroves. This was the second time villagers had killed the rare animal in coastline, he said.

Some villagers said on condition of anonymity that wildlife officials were apprised about the fishing cat’s attacks but no official showed up to gather facts and take administrative steps to save the endangered animal.

Published in Dawn, March 8th, 2020