In the past six years, at least 366 protected animals have died after being struck by motor vehicles, the Council of Agriculture said on Friday, adding that it has initiated a three-year study to determine how to protect wild animals along highways.
At least 16 otters, 53 leopard cats, 35 pangolins, 21 civet cats and 241 masked palm civets have been killed, though the actual number might be higher, said Lin Te-en (林德恩), an assistant researcher at the council’s Endemic Species Research Institute.
The number of the nation’s vehicles per square kilometer is the highest in the world, with 596.4 cars and scooters per square kilometer, while the aggregate length of its roads is 43,365km, which only ranks 13th worldwide, Lin said, citing data from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.
In 2011, Lin’s dedication to researching wild animals led him to set up a Facebook group called Reptile Road Mortality, whose aim is to stimulate “citizen research” into animal and environmental protection issues and has attracted 13,859 members.
He also launched a Web site, the Taiwan Roadkill Observation Network, in 2012 to foster greater monitoring to prevent rabies, insecticide use and heavy metal pollution.
The group’s members take photographs of animals that they see on roads, record the location and then upload the material to Facebook.
“We hope to gather more data through Facebook about motor vehicle accidents involving animals. Collecting information about killed animals is relatively easy for ordinary people because the animals can no longer hurt them,” Lin said when asked about his motive to set up the Web pages.
While not everyone can handle pictures of dead animals, Lin does not set any special parameters on taking the photos because he hopes to convey the idea that “death is not necessarily a bloody and scary thing,” but can be a good learning opportunity.
If people find dead cats or dogs on roads, they can bury the bodies in appropriate places if possible, or they can contact local animal protection offices, Lin said.
If they find other kinds of dead animals, they can deliver the bodies to the institute in Nantou County’s Jiji Township (集集) for research, he said.
Starting last month, the institute began to collaborate with the Directorate-General of Highways to conduct a three-year study on animal pathways along roads.
The plan first targets the habitats of carnivores along highways in Miaoli, Taichung and Nantou counties, where carnivores, especially leopard cats, were often found, Lin explained.
The institute divided the nation into 1,440 grids and has invited people to claim regions identified by the grids, Lin said, adding that he hopes the research will become more systematic to avoid repetitive reporting by people.
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up