Authorities are working to verify claims that a Formosan clouded leopard, a species native to Taiwan and thought to be extinct, was sighted in the wild in Taitung County, the Taitung Forest District Office said.
The last confirmed sighting of the animal was in the 1980s, office deputy director Huang Chium-tse (黃群策) said.
Huang was responding to an article last week in the Chinese-language Apple Daily written by National Taitung University Department of Life Science professor Liu Chiung-hsi (劉炯錫), in which he revealed the reported sightings.
“I believe the animal does still exist,” Liu said on Saturday, when asked about the article.
Liu cited Kao Cheng-chi (高正治), president of the Austronesian Community College Development Association and a Paiwan village head, as saying that people from Alangyi Village (阿塱壹) in Taitung spotted what they thought was a clouded leopard in June last year.
They were on a community patrol when they saw the animal, which Paiwan people call Li’uljaw, pounce from a tree onto a mountain goat, Kao told Liu.
Another village resident described seeing a clouded leopard dart past a scooter before going back into the woods, Kao said.
Following the incidents, a village meeting was held last month to investigate the sightings and prohibit outsiders from hunting in the area, Liu wrote, citing Kao.
Pan Chih-hua (潘志華), head of the Alangyi tribal conference, on Saturday said that men from the village did indeed spot a Formosan clouded leopard in the wild, but were reluctant to disclose the time and location of the sightings.
Liu said it was no surprise that the animal has not been seen in more than two decades, because it is vigilant and cannot be easily trapped.
However, when he was researching the Bunun’s hunting culture in 1998, several Bunun people said that they had captured Formosan clouded leopards, but had burned their bodies for fear of being prosecuted under the Wildlife Conservation Act (野生動物保育法).
The claimed sightings was big news for the Forestry Bureau, but as Formosan clouded leopards have not been seen for many years, the agency needs to verify the reports, Huang said.
The office respected the actions of the tribe to protect its resources, he said, but added that a scientific investigation was needed before a conclusion could be made.
The bureau would consult with the village to investigate the sightings, he said.
The Formosan clouded leopard was featured on an Animal Planet documentary called Extinct or Alive in July last year.
According to numerous media reports, the last confirmed sighting of the animal in Taiwan was in 1983.
‘SUSPENDED’: The restrictions are likely to have a greater effect on seafood producers, as exports of food and drinks to China had already decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic China’s customs administration late on Monday announced bans on more than 100 Taiwanese food brands ahead of a visit by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. Beijing said that the blacklisted exporters — which include tea, honey and seafood producers — failed to renew their export registration and could therefore only sell their products until the end of this month. The exporters may submit additional documents this month, Food and Drug Administration Director Wu Shou-mei (吳秀梅) said, adding that the agency would help them complete their registrations. The bans might be politically motivated, as Taiwanese manufacturers were treated differently than
MISSILE PATHS: Certain information on the Chinese missile fire was not disclosed to maintain secrecy over military intelligence-gathering capabilities, the MND said Military experts yesterday speculated on the implication of the government’s tight-lipped response and the lack of air-raid sirens during the first day of China’s military drills the previous day. On Thursday, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) launched 11 Dongfeng-series ballistic missiles into waters north, east and south of Taiwan, a day after US House of Representative Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s departure from the country, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said. The Japanese Ministry of Defense said that China fired nine missiles toward Taiwan, including four that flew over Taiwan proper. However, China’s exhibition of force failed to terrorize the local populace, because
UNDER WATCH: Taiwan will have to establish a standardized nucleic acid testing method to identify the virus and monitor its spread, the CDC said The Langya henipavirus, which can be transmitted from animals to humans, has been discovered in China, with 35 human infections reported so far, Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said, adding that the nation would establish a nucleic acid testing method to identify the virus. A study titled “A Zoonotic Henipavirus in Febrile Patients in China” that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday said that a new henipavirus associated with a fever-causing human illness was identified in China. The study said an investigation identified 35 patients with acute infection of the Langya henipavirus in China’s Shandong
Legislators across party lines yesterday welcomed US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, marking the first time in 25 years that an incumbent US House speaker has visited the nation. Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Hsu Chih-chieh (許智傑) cited the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) support for Pelosi’s visit — including from senior party members KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) and former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) — as evidence that President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) foreign diplomacy is on the right course. Pelosi’s visit has special meaning for Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific region as a whole, DPP Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said. The