Taiwan’s leopard cat lives saved by road culverts

The country is making a concerted effort to introduce measures that protect the endangered species

Leopard cat spotted in a culvert (Screenshot of Forest Bureau video)

Leopard cat spotted in a culvert (Screenshot of Forest Bureau video)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Culverts are being constructed to preserve Taiwan’s endangered leopard cat population and the initiative seems to be working.

In a Facebook video post published on Saturday (Aug. 31), the Forestry Bureau said a camera had been set up on an island highway where leopard cats are known to have been killed by passing traffic. The camera captured images of the endangered feline crossing through a culvert 39 times.

The culvert was the first of its kind in Taiwan and was put in place earlier this year by the Forestry Bureau and Miaoli County, where most of the country’s leopard cats live. The measure was introduced to reduce the road deaths.

In addition to leopard cats, Reeves's muntjacs, masked palm civets, and other animals, were spotted using the culvert to cross the road, said the Forestry Bureau. Buoyed by the results, the bureau said more culverts will be constructed, along with fences, to protect the wildlife.

Other measures to improve leopard protection include installing alerts and slow-down signs on highways, as well as removing hedges near road-kill hotspots. A crackdown on speeding drivers will also be enforced to further minimize the chances of injuring animals.

Taiwan has introduced a raft of measures to preserve the leopard cat by giving farmers cash incentives and raising public awareness.

Furthermore, a Russian artist who recently offered free leopard cat illustrations in a controversial rail train design project designed to aid the feline’s protection is set to visit the island at the invitation of the government.