Less than 500 leopard cats left in Taiwan

TAIPEI (The China Post) – The leopard cat, or “Shi Hu” in Chinese, is the only remaining native Felidae in Taiwan after the disappearance of the Formosan clouded leopard. Today, there are only about 500 animals left in Taiwan which are often victims of road kills and poisoning, making all conservation efforts more difficult. Even more worrisome, leopard cats live in shallow mountains where their territories often overlap with many development projects.

In recent days, for instance, construction began in a wetland park in Chuo Lan, an urban township in Miaoli County, the project is part of the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program. Yet, it destroyed the natural habitat of the leopard cats in the name of economic development at the expenses of the endangered species. To highlight the irony of this situation , the public has, therefore, called the Chuo Lan park: the “memorial park” of leopard cats.

Now the construction has halted but the excavation has already caused a lot of damage. How can the government and other experts from various sectors fix the problem and make it right again?

In addition to the Chuo Lan park, there are many development projects impacting the natural habitat of leopard cats such as Yulon Motor’s second assembly line in Sanyi, a township in Miaoli. It will sacrifice 32 hectares of the endangered species’ habitat so there is little wonder that the case has been sent from an environmental assessment for review.

Aside from the destruction of their habitats, road kills also decimate the population. Leopard cats are also hunters so they often are the innocent victims of poisoning by chicken farm owners. Will the double threats of the destruction of their habitat and the reduction of their population further lead to the disappearance of leopard cats like the Formosan clouded leopard?