Nine civilian patrols have been established in Nantou County to protect Taiwan’s endangered leopard cat population, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said in a statement yesterday.
The patrols are part of a pilot program launched by the Endemic Species Research Institute in 2019, which offers government grants to residents in Nantou and Miaoli counties to engage in the protection of the local populations of the small wild cat, it said.
Nationwide, there are about 300 to 500 leopard cats, the council said.
Photo provided by the Endemic Species Research Institute via CNA
The patrols work with local authorities on a range of conservation measures, such as reporting illegal traps, installing automatic cameras, cat-proofing poultry enclosures, and helping to catch and release leopard cats found on local farms, it said.
Annual grants for civilian protection efforts range from NT$60,000 to NT$100,000, the council said.
Nine patrols have been established in Nantou’s Jhongliao Township (中寮), and one of them, conducted by members of Yongsheng Temple (永盛宮) in Yongping Village (永平), in January helped relocate two leopard cats, the council said.
Experts at the institute trapped the two cats near chicken coops in the area, and they were found to be in good health, the council said.
The two — named Yong-ge (永哥) and Sheng-ge (盛哥) by patrol members — weighed 4.9kg and 4.6kg respectively, and were fitted with tracking collars as part of protection efforts, it said.
Yong-ge was on Feb. 3 released back into the wild by the institute, and Sheng-ge was released by Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) on Feb. 24, while he was visiting the area to collect feedback on the program, the council said.
Members of the patrol have helped the owners of the chicken coops set up protective fencing, and reinforce fencing at the coop where Sheng-ge was detected again on Sunday last week, it said.
The program has helped raise awareness about leopard cat conservation and can serve as a model for government cooperation with local communities, the council said.
INTERNATIONAL WEED DAY: Advocates are to hold a demonstration to push for the decriminalization of marijuana and allowing its use for treatment of certain conditions It is time for Taiwanese society to examine the medical benefits of cannabis, in line with the international trend to lift restrictions on and decriminalize the use of marijuana, two legislators said yesterday, ahead of tomorrow’s “Rally for Equal Rights for Cannabis” in Taipei. Taiwan is one of a few countries holding a “420 International Weed Day” event — which usually takes place around the April 20 weekend — as most nations have canceled it this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said organizer Green Sensation, which is composed of doctors, lawyers and entertainers, among others. The group released a
The navy’s new 10,600-tonne warship is on Tuesday to be christened the ROCN Yushan (玉山), as the nation’s indigenous shipbuilding program reaches a milestone, sources said yesterday. The vessel, previously referred to as the “new landing platform dock,” was at a shipyard with its name freshly painted on the hull with the number 1401, the Liberty Times (the sister paper of the Taipei Times) reported yesterday, citing an unnamed observer. Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇), a member of the legislature’s National Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, confirmed the report in a Facebook post. The NT$4.635 billion (US$163 million) ship is designed
DIALOGUE SOUGHT: Washington said it was concerned about the pattern of ongoing attempts to intimidate Taiwan after the 10th day of PLA activity in the region The US on Monday urged Beijing to stop its multifaceted pressure campaign against Taiwan after China sent 25 military jets into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. “The United States notes with concern the pattern of ongoing PRC [People’s Republic of China] attempts to intimidate the region, including Taiwan,” a US Department of State spokesperson said in an e-mail response to questions. “We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure against Taiwan, and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan.” The Ministry of National Defense said that 25 Chinese military aircraft entered the zone on Monday. It was the 10th straight
‘NOT ENTHUSIASTIC’: People who have been approved by the CECC as special cases who need to travel, such as foreign diplomats, would be able to receive a vaccine The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday expanded the eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination to the fourth priority group — people who need to travel abroad for special reasons — adding that out-of-pocket vaccines would be available from Wednesday next week. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said although Taiwan’s COVID-19 vaccination program was on Monday expanded to include the top three groups in the priority list, people are still “not enthusiastic” about getting vaccinated. “Only 1,220 people received a vaccine shot on Tuesday, and a total of 27,113 people have received COVID-19 vaccination” so far, he