Taiwan leopard cat found dead near Taichung HSR station | Taiwan News

Taiwan leopard cat found dead near Taichung HSR station | Taiwan News

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The body of a Taiwanese leopard cat was found on the roadside near the Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) Taichung Station in Wuri District on Sunday morning (Sept 10).

The cat was discovered around 7 a.m. by a local resident, surnamed Lin (林), who was riding a bicycle. After noticing the animal, Lin immediately contacted the Leopard Cat Association of Taiwan, who sent a member to confirm that it was one of Taiwan’s endangered leopard cats, reported UDN.

According to Lin, the cat was still spitting blood from its mouth, suggesting the accident occurred shortly before Lin rode his bike through the area. The specimen was a male that had just reached maturity, and a spokesperson for the association called the incident a pity.

While there have been some sightings of leopard cats in the area, their population near Taichung’s HSR station is considered very small. If the population in the area continues to grow, more protective measures may need to be considered along the roadways.

In response to Sunday’s incident, Taichung City Councilor Chang Jia-an (張家銨) criticized the city government for not surveying the area and implementing safety measures to protect the local population of leopard cats, reported UDN. Chang said that the city has been aware of the local population for several years but has dragged its feet on implementing barriers to protect the cats’ local habitat.

Chang noted that the city council established the Taichung City Leopard Cat Conservation Committee in 2023 but has not yet held a single meeting. She called on the committee to meet right away to develop a plan to promote the conservation of leopard cats in Taichung.

The cat population is reportedly growing along the banks of the nearby Fazi River, a waterway located between a major highway on one side and train tracks on the other. According to the city’s agricultural bureau, the committee had plans to meet in the fourth quarter of 2023 after reviewing reports on the major population centers of leopard cats, per UDN.

Conservation reports in recent years suggest that the leopard cat population is slowly increasing throughout Taiwan, but not at a stable enough rate to ensure the long-term survival of the species. Therefore, the species, which is Taiwan’s only endemic wild cat, is still considered endangered.

The cats face many obstacles to reaching a stable rate of population growth, including habitat loss, threats from dogs and other animals, pesticides, and roadkill incidents on Taiwan’s highways.

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