Fri, Apr 26, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Leopard cat rescued from reservoir

CAUGHT:The endangered animal weighed only 1.7kg when found, suggesting that it might have been trapped for days in the reservoir in Nantou County

By Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff writer, with CNA

A female leopard cat that was found last week trapped in a reservoir in the mountains of Nantou County’s Guosing Township is pictured on Wednesday.

Photo: Copied by Liu Pin-chuan, Taipei Times

A female leopard cat was last week rescued from a reservoir in the mountains of Nantou County’s Guosing Township (國姓), the Forestry Bureau’s Nantou Forest District Office said on Wednesday.

The animal was discovered in a 3m deep reservoir by a staff member from the office’s Taichung Working Station, who was in town to survey a forest for lease, along with the prospective lessee, the office said.

They reported their discovery and called for help to rescue the animal, it said.

The Nantou-based Endemic Species Research Institute and the Nantou County Department of Agriculture responded and were able to rescue the animal, identified as an endangered leopard cat.

Fortunately, the water level of the reservoir was low enough that the animal did not drown, while providing her with a source of water, a team at the institute that specializes in the study of leopard cats said.

However, the cat only weighed 1.7kg when she was discovered, suggesting that she might have been trapped in the reservoir for several days, it said.

The team said it would nurture the animal back to health so that it can be returned to the wild as soon as possible.

Local residents said it has been 20 years since they had seen a leopard cat.

They said they would cover the reservoir with a net to prevent other animals from falling in.

Since 2014, the office has employed a professional team to study the distribution of leopard cats in the county, it said.

Results show that leopard cats can be found in every township in the county, it said, adding that they are especially active in Jhongliao (中寮) and Jiji (集集).

Staff at the office, the county government and the institute were all pleased to hear that a leopard cat had been rescued in Guosing, the office said.

The office said it is encouraging farmers to engage in agricultural practices that are friendly to the species’ habitat.

It hopes that by encouraging farmers to use fewer fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, leopard cats and other wildlife animals will be given a safe environment, the office said.

By making improvements to the habitat within its jurisdiction, it hopes to increase biodiversity and the leopard cat population, it added.

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