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County councilor calls for protection of endangered wild cat

2017/11/22 23:16:04

Hu Chung-yung (胡忠勇)

Taipei, Nov. 22 (CNA) A Miaoli County councilor is pushing for the designation of a conservation area for Taiwan's leopard cat, an endangered endemic wild cat species, following reports that six of the cats have been killed on the county's roads this year.

Hu Chung-yung (胡忠勇) raised the issue at a county council meeting on Tuesday, asking the county government to work with animal protection organizations and National United University in Miaoli to establish a leopard cat conservation area.

The leopard cat is the only surviving endemic wild cat species in Taiwan since the Formosan clouded leopard was confirmed in 2014 to be extinct.

Citing studies by experts in the field, Hu said the number of leopard cats in the wild has shrunk to 300 to 500 nationwide, with Miaoli County being the main area of concentration.

He said the cats have been wandering onto roadways because their habitats are being destroyed by urban development projects.

"The clouded leopard is already extinct, and I hope the leopard cat will not suffer the same fate," Hu said.

Hu's appeal was supported by county chief Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌), who also said that the work must be done systematically, starting with discussions on how to establish a leopard cat conservation area.

(By Kuan Rui-ping and Elizabeth Hsu)