News Release

February 4, 2015

Photo Download: Fishing Cat-1.jpg, Fishing Cat-2.jpg, Fishing Cat 3-jpg, Fishing Cat 4-jpg, Fishing Cat-5.jpg

Fishing Cat Born at Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield, Ill.—Guests may hear the pitter-patter of little paws splashing in a small pool the next time they visit Brookfield Zoo’s Fragile Rain Forest exhibit. That’s because there is a new addition: a male fishing cat kitten born on October 31, 2014. He has now grown old enough to be seen on exhibit with his 4-year-old mom, Anna.

The birth of this kitten is extremely significant to the population of fishing cats in North American zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) because both parents have had no previous offspring. Anna was born at Parc zoologique de La Fl├Ęche in France, and Chet, the 5-year-old sire, is on a breeding loan from Jackson Zoo in Mississippi. The pairing of Anna and Chet was based on a recommendation from the AZA’s Fishing Cat Species Survival Plan (SSP). An SSP is a cooperative population management and conservation program for select species in accredited North American zoos and aquariums. Each plan manages the breeding of a species to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable. Currently, there are 43 fishing cats in 16 North American institutions. The last successful fishing cat birth at Brookfield Zoo was in 1998.

Those interested in helping care for the fishing cats at Brookfield Zoo, can contribute to the Chicago Zoological Society’s Share the Care program. The $35 basic package includes a 5-inch x 7-inch color photograph of a fishing cat, a personalized adoption certificate, a fact sheet about fishing cats, a Share the Care car decal, and an invitation to the exclusive Share the Care Evening that will be held on Sunday, August 2. For further information, visit

Fishing cats are small: males average about 25 pounds and females slightly less at around 15 pounds. Like their name implies, fishing cats’ diet consists of fish, but they also eat crustaceans, mollusks, frogs, and small mammals. The cats, whose paws are slightly webbed, crouch on a rock or sand bank and use a forepaw to scoop up their prey or wade into the water at chest level and snag fish with claws that don’t fully retract.

Fishing cats are endangered in the wild. Once found throughout Asia, they are now found in densely vegetated areas near marshes, mangroves, rivers, and streams in discontinuous areas of the continent, including in Sumatra, Java, southern China, India, and Sri Lanka. The degradation and destruction of wetlands and the depletion of fish stocks pose significant threats to their population, as does hunting for their fur, which is prized on the black market.

The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, inspires conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for Brookfield Zoo's innovative, naturalistic, multispecies exhibits and for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. For further information, visit

#      #      #


Sondra Katzen
Public Relations
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


Center for Animal Welfare

Read about our innovative practices in animal welfare to ensure the ultimate care of our individual animals.

Classes and Camps

Conservation Leadership

We place a high priority on developing and supporting conservation leaders of all ages and backgrounds.


Visit Brookfield Zoo

Create extraordinary connections with animals and nature!

Animal Welfare

You Can Help!

Become our partner in caring for animals and in connecting people with wildlife and nature.