Kendrapada, Jan 29: A 3.5 feet-long fishing cat lying dead at Hajari Chowk on the Paradeep-Daitary Express Way, 10 kms from here, was retrieved by the police today.
According to the Kendrapara police station Inspector-in-Charge, some locals had informed that a leopard was lying dead on the Express way near Hajari Chowk.
Forest officials of Kendrapara Forest Division on being informed, rushed to the site and took possession of the fishing cat to conduct an autopsy in the local veterinary office.
Cuttack Divisional Forest Officer B N Mohanty said the giant fishing cat might have died after being hit by a speeding truck on the busy Paradeep-Daitary Expressway.
The fishing cat had been included in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and in Appendix II of CITES and designated as 'vulnerable' in the Red Data Book.
Their number in the state had been declining due to killing and habitat loss.The Bhitarkanika National Park is home to about hundreds of fishing cats as it provides congenial atmosphere for the species, Mr.Mohanty said.
Wildlife officials said of the 11 species of small cats reported in the country, six species are known to be found in Orissa. Each sanctuary has one or more species of small cats.