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4,000 people march for wildlife rights in Taipei

Conflicts between wild animals and stray dogs and cats have tripled in past 10 years

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Large crowd march for rights of wildlife in Taipei. (CNA photo)

Large crowd march for rights of wildlife in Taipei. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Students from four colleges and universities in Taiwan organized the "2023 Walk for Wildlife," drawing upwards of 4,000 participants who gathered in front of the Legislative Yuan on Sunday (Oct. 29).

The public protest called for more attention to attacks on wild animals due to stray dogs and cats. Participants demanded that both the public and the government pay more attention to the current threats facing wildlife, per Liberty Times.

Students from National Taiwan University, National Tsing Hua University, National Taiwan Normal University, and Chiayi University called upon the government to do a better job managing stray dogs and cats. Animal protection groups also participated, along with a number of politicians, such as DPP Legislator Hung Sun-han (洪申翰) and KMT Legislator Lee De-wei (李德維), who attended the event to receive a petition signed by protestors.

4,000 people march for wildlife rights in Taipei
Protestors take to the streets on behalf of wildlife. (CNA photo)

According to a survey by the Ministry of Agriculture, there were 160,000 stray dogs in Taiwan in 2022. The Endemic Species Research Institute said the number of wild animals attacked by stray dogs and cats has increased three times that of 10 years ago, putting species like leopard cats and pangolins at risk.

Taiwan does not conduct population statistics on stray cats, but there have been reports of stray cats attacking birds and reptiles. In addition to stray dogs and cats posing a direct risk to local wildlife, they also spread disease to other animal species and organisms living in the natural environment.

Philip Liao (廖朝盛) of the WildOne Wildlife Rescue Center said a total of 43 wild animals were sent to his organization for emergency treatment after being attacked by stray dogs and cats this year. Among the injured are 16 Reeves's muntjacs who were brought to the organization but were unable to be revived.

The number of pangolins attacked by stray dogs and cats also increased year by year, exceeding the number injured by animal traps.

According to WildOne, the mortality rate of wild animals injured by stray dogs and cats is in excess of 80%. It said a complete ban on feeding stray dogs and cats in ecological reserves should be implemented.

This would ensure more safety for local wildlife as well as limit disease transmission to wildlife populations, according to protest covener Lee Tsung-chen (李宗宸).