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  • (Imitates fishing cat)

  • That's my impersonation of a fishing cat,

  • which actually sounds more like this.

  • (Prerecorded fishing cat sounds)

  • It's a cat that loves water,

  • loves to fish,

  • and lives in some of the most unique and valuable ecosystems on earth:

  • the wetlands and mangrove forests of South and Southeast Asia.

  • Aren't they fishing awesome?

  • (Laughter)

  • Fishing cats are one of about 40 species of wildcats.

  • Like tigers and lions, only much smaller.

  • They're probably around twice the size of our average domestic cat.

  • In Indonesia,

  • people call them "kucing bakau,"

  • which literally translates to "the cat of the mangroves."

  • But I like to call them the tigers of the mangroves.

  • Now, we don't know fishing cats as well as we do tigers,

  • but what we've learned is that these cats can be a flagship species

  • to a globally important ecosystem,

  • and a visual bait attached to a strong line for conservation.

  • Are you hooked yet?

  • (Laughter)

  • Like many endangered species,

  • fishing cats are threatened by habitat loss,

  • mainly because of our international demand for farmed fish and shrimp,

  • and the deforestation of nearly half the historic mangrove cover

  • in South and Southeast Asia.

  • Mangroves, on the other hand,

  • are much more than just habitat to the fishing cat.

  • They are home to a fantastic array of species,

  • like jackals,

  • turtles,

  • shorebirds

  • and otters.

  • (Laughter)

  • Mangroves also prevent soil erosion,

  • and they can be the first line of defense between storm surges, tsunamis

  • and the millions of people who live next to these forests

  • for their day-to-day survival.

  • The fact that puts the icing on the cake --

  • or the earth, I should say --

  • is that mangroves can store

  • upwards of five to ten times more carbon dioxide

  • than tropical forests.

  • So protecting one acre of mangroves

  • may well be like protecting five or more acres of tropical forests.

  • Would you like to eliminate you entire life's carbon footprint?

  • Well, mangroves can offer you

  • one of the best bangs for your conservation buck.

  • Deforestation, extinction and climate change

  • are all global problems that we can solve

  • by giving value to our species and ecosystems

  • and by working together with the local people

  • who live next to them.

  • This is one of three river deltas in coastal South India

  • where communities came together

  • to change the face and potentially, the fate of this planet.

  • In less than a decade,

  • with international support,

  • the state forest departments and the local communities

  • worked together to restore

  • over 20,000 acres of unproductive fish and shrimp farms

  • back into mangroves.

  • About five years ago,

  • guess who we discovered in these restored mangroves?

  • When we shared images of these fishing cats with local people,

  • we were able to build pride among them

  • about a globally revered endangered species and ecosystem

  • in their backyards.

  • We were also able to build trust with some people

  • to help them lead alternative livelihoods.

  • Meet Santosh, a 19-year-old boy

  • who not only became a conservation professional

  • after working with us for just over a year

  • but also went on to involve many local fishermen

  • in helping study and protect fishing cats.

  • Meet Moshi, a tribal poacher,

  • who not only stopped hunting

  • and became our most prized conservationist,

  • but also used his traditional knowledge

  • to educate his entire community to stop hunting fishing cats, otters

  • and the many other threatened species

  • that live in the mangroves in his backyard.

  • Fish and shrimp farmers, like Venkat,

  • are now willing to work with us conservationists

  • to test the sustainable harvest of ecosystem services like crabs,

  • and possibly even honey, from mangroves.

  • Incentives that could get them to protect and plant mangroves

  • where they have been lost.

  • A win-win-win

  • for fishing cats, local people and the global community.

  • These stories show us that we can all be part of a future

  • where fishing cats and the lost mangrove forests

  • are protected and restored by fishermen themselves,

  • creating carbon sinks

  • that can help offset our ecological footprints.

  • So while the fishing cat may be small,

  • I hope that we've been able to help make it a big deal.

  • One that we can all invest in

  • to help sustain our lives on earth a little longer.

  • Or as our friend here would say ...

  • (Prerecorded fishing cat sounds)

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

(Imitates fishing cat)

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B1 US TED fishing conservation local people local shrimp

【TED】Ashwin Naidu: The link between fishing cats and mangrove forest conservation (The link between fishing cats and mangrove forest conservation | Ashwin Naidu)

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    林宜悉 posted on 2019/11/15
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