TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A trial program for the conservation of the leopard cat (石虎) was approved by the Council of Agriculture on July 1, and incentive measures are being introduced in Miaoli and Nantou counties in a bid to protect endangered species.
According to the Forest Bureau, cash rewards will be provided to residents who abide by the guidelines set out in the “Incentive Program for Leopard Cat Friendly Farms” (友善石虎生態服務給付試辦方案). Community groups that conduct patrols on leopard cats’ habitats, report and help remove traps, and assist in local conservation work will receive a reward of NT$60,000 a year.
Farmers who agree to spare at least 970 square meters of their farmland from herbicides, raticides, and animal traps will receive a reward of NT$20,000 per hectare. Meanwhile, poultry farm owners who report leopard cats to the authorities without hurting them will receive NT$3,000 per incident.
A cash reward ranging from NT$10,000 to 100,000 will also be granted to the three aforementioned parties for setting up cameras to monitor the whereabouts of the endangered species and successfully capturing images of the elusive animal.
The Forest Bureau has also collaborated with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and local governments to establish a national ecosystem network and action plan for the conservation of threatened species. Measures include building anti-collision fences along roads where leopard cats are frequently spotted.