Taiwan's endangered leopard cats saved by road culverts
There are less than 1,000 living leopard cats in Taiwan.
MIAOLI, TAIWAN — Taiwan is making a push to save its leopard cats.
Taiwan's Miaoli County passed an ordinance to protect leopard cats by rewarding eco-friendly farming and mandating impact studies for some construction projects on December 28.
Liberty Times reports that Miaoli is an important breeding ground for leopard cats, an endangered species in Taiwan.
The busy traffic on Taiwan's freeways poses a significant danger to the leopard cats and at least 21 cats were killed by cars in 2019.
Taiwan's government has been trying to address the problem by building culverts to help leopard cats safely cross roads.
Citing the Forestry Bureau, United Daily News reports that its camera detected 39 leopard cats at one culvert.
Last year, the government and the National Chung Hsing University unveiled a safe crossing system.
The system features a speedometer linked traffic sign, fences, light sound emitters to slow down cats, animal biometrics, and a safe passage culvert.
The Forestry Bureau says that cats have learned to use those systems and that a combination of LED lights, fences and speeding enforcement may help save the cats.
Liberty Times reports that Miaoli's laws would require construction of a certain size--such as roads over 1 km long--to pass an environmental impact study before they are built.
According to the Liberty Times, there are less than 1,000 living leopard cats in Taiwan. The government has issued repeated calls for motorists to slow down in areas that the cats inhabit.
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