Field Day 10: 360 Animation of a Fishing Cat Skull [VIDEO]

The sky tried to drown us today. As we drove out to set our traps, I pointed to the slate grey clouds boiling in the skies above, and exclaimed, “Phahn ha” (Should we worry?).

Ruj was convinced we could set one trap before the curtain of rain and lightning descended. We made it less than halfway up the road before getting stuck in a torrent of rain and mud. For 15 intense minutes we struggled to break free of the mire, Ruj jumping up and down on the front bumper, while I attempted to reverse. Soaked and splattered, we managed to jog free, but needless to say, today was not the most productive in terms of fieldwork.

I do have a little something for you though, a 360 animation of a fishing cat skull. It’s really quite something to see. Fishing cats have a more elongated top of the skull than most other cats. It’s part of an adaptation for their lives as water loving, fish catching felines.

360 Animation of an endangered fishing cat skull from Morgan Heim on Vimeo.

Back in 2011, Jo and I were on the scene when this particular cat was discovered just outside of Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park in Sam Roi Yod. Someone had shot him and left him on the side of the road.

Villagers notified Ruj that someone had dumped a fishing cat on the side of the road just outside of Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park in Sam Roi Yod, Thailand. He had been shot clean through the neck for reasons unknown. Poaching for revenge killing and food is a common demise of fishing cats in a habitat increasingly squeezed with human development.

Villagers notified Ruj that someone had dumped a fishing cat on the side of the road just outside of Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park in Sam Roi Yod, Thailand. He had been shot clean through the neck for reasons unknown. Poaching for revenge killing and food is a common demise of fishing cats in a habitat increasingly squeezed by human development.

The scene was heartbreaking. Ruj, from the Fishing Cat Research and Conservation Project, kept the cat’s skeleton and pelt after the necrospy in order to serve as outreach tools for fishing cat conservation. I hope what you see here has its certain element of beauty despite its tragic story, and that what’s left of our fallen fishing cat can help the ones that still wander somewhere out there in the marshland.

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