Rarest Cat in the World? Assessing the Javan Fishing Cat

Fishing Cat Hunting in Long Grass Prionailurus Viverrinus

Fishing Cat Hunting in Long Grass Prionailurus Viverrinus – Image Courtesy of Anthony J. Giordano

Is the Javan Fishing Cat the Rarest Cat in the World?

The Javan fishing cat was declared “Endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2008. This was due to the rapid disappearance of freshwater and coastal habitats across south Asia and in part due to the lack of records for the species despite wildlife surveys across  the region.  Data on fishing cats shows their distribution to be discontinuous, with many populations isolated.  The most isolated are the fishing cats on Java, where the only recognized subspecies of the fishing cat occurs.  The Javan fishing cat was proposed “critically endangered” more than 20 years ago but has not received any conservation to date.

Assessing the Status of the Javan Fishing Cat

Javan Fishing Cat at night

Javan Fishing Cat at Night – Image courtesy of Anthony Giordano

About This Project

Given that the Javan Fishing Cat has been declared ‘critically endangered” over the past 20 years, and no strategy for protecting the cat has emerged it is imperative that the status of this cat be re-assessed. The Javan coastal ecosystems and wetlands have endured dramatic changes due to development and a soaring human population.  The cat’s unique genetic and evolutionary context relative to other fishing cats, and the serious threats it faces, likely make this cat the most endangered on earth!

Fishing Cat interviews in Java

Community interviews in western Java – Image courtesy of Anthony J. Giordano

Anthony J. Giordano, Conservation Biologist and Carnivore Ecologist will lead the project. The first objective of this project is to conduct semi-structured interviews in 7 human communities across western Java to understand familiarity with fishing cats and document records. The project will distribute educational brochures to promote public awareness about the uniqueness of Java’s fishing cat and how to report sightings.  Based on the interview results, a survey will be conducted in what is considered suitable habitat to record evidence of fishing cat presence.  Threats will also be identified where evidence suggests cats are present and a strategy for mitigation will be proposed.

The Tiniest Tiger Community is a Backer for This Research


Triple T Studios

The primary goal is to use the information collected to assess the Javan fishing cat’s status, and inform the Indonesian government and conservation community as to immediate conservation actions needed. Thanks to your support of Triple T Studios, The Tiniest Tiger community is a backer of the Assessing the Status of the Javan Fishing Cat.  Thank you for caring about all cats big and small.


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  1. sandy weinstein says

    he is beautiful….never knew there was such a thing as fishing cats

  2. databbiesotrouttowne says

    we send all our best for this project; fishing cats are totally cool !! ???