Newquay Zoo shares first glimpse of baby fishing cat

Staff at Newquay Zoo have released the first images of their adorable baby fishing cat, a shy and elusive animal that is classed as vulnerable in the wild.

The fishing cat was actually born back at the start of February, but mother Freya has been keeping the kitten out of the spotlight while it finds its feet and begins to eat solid food.

For the first time, both mother and kitten have been spotted in the wider enclosure. However, these medium-sized wild cats have a combination of spots and stripes on their fur that provide excellent camouflage for their native wetland habitats of southeast Asia, northern India and Sri Lanka, so visitors will have to keep an eagle eye out for the pair.

Dave Rich, Keeper Team Leader, said: “The number of fishing cats in the wild is declining due to pollution and destruction of their natural habitats – such as swamps, marshes, lakes and mangrove forests – so it is great to be able to help increase the number of fishing cats worldwide, and also introduce people to this lesser-known species.

“Both mum and baby are doing well, and we can’t wait to see it as it grows in both size and confidence, and starts to fully explore the enclosure.”

Once the fishing kitten is a bit older, it will be sexed, chipped and given a name. It will stay close to its mother for the next several months, learning new skills. As their name suggests, fishing cats are not at all afraid of water. They are excellent swimmers, and catch their prey by ‘fishing’ for fish, frogs and crustaceans.