Poultry farmers in Taiwan support leopard cat protection despite losses

One Nantou farmer allegedly lost 70 chickens to one of the endangered cats

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Leopard cat (Leopard Cat Association of Taiwan Facebook photo)

Leopard cat (Leopard Cat Association of Taiwan Facebook photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s poultry farmers have demonstrated their unwavering support for leopard cat conservation despite suffering losses inflicted upon by the endangered species.

A number of farmers and volunteer leopard cat patrol teams from Nantou County’s Zhongliao Township were rewarded on Friday (Jan. 17) for helping protect the wild cat as part of a national incentive program. Nantou, the only landlocked county in Taiwan, and Miaoli County are both home to major leopard populations in the island country.

Taiwan has introduced a raft of measures to preserve the leopard cat, including giving farmers cash incentives, raising public awareness, and installing culverts and alerts along highways to reduce road-kill incidents. The number of the endangered cats in Taiwan is estimated to have declined to between 400 and 600, according to the report.

Wei Wei-chun (魏維君), a chicken farm owner, has fallen victim to cats, as more than 70 chickens he has raised have allegedly been killed by a single leopard cat in three months, reported CNA. Even though the cash reward can hardly cover the losses, Wei said his support for the cause remains unchanged.

Another resident, Tsai Ching-kuo (蔡清國), also has a tragic story to share since he began participating in the protection program. According to him, a goose he kept as a pet for more than a decade was eaten by a leopard cat. Heartbroken, he said he would still contribute to the cat’s conservation.