- Posted April 16, 2014 by
The Construction of Miaoli County Sanyi Bypass Route, Fu Lu Shou Cemetary, and Luxgen Motors’ Second Warehouse will soon lead to the Extinction of Leopard Cats in Taiwan
In recent years, plans for the construction of Miaoli County Sanyi bypass route, Fu Lu Shou Cemetary and Luxgen Motor’s Second Warehouse have been met with controversy as these projects will most definitely lead to the extinction of leopard cats which currently only have a population of less than 500 in Taiwan. They are considered endangered, mainly due to loss of habitat. Fu Lu Shou Cemetery has passed its controversial environmental impact assessment; however, the county magistrate, Liou Jheng Hong, held the ground-breaking ceremony before the assessment had passed. Furthermore, Luxgen Motors plans building a second warehouse in that area to store their electric cars. The public is extremely concerned about leopard cats’ future and welfare. Public support is needed to oppose the approval of Miaoli County Sanyi bypass route as well as Luxgen Motor’s construction of a second warehouse,which will most surely destroy what’s left of these beautiful cat’s habitat.
The developer of the Fu Lu Shou Cemetery claims it will be the largest burial ground in Southeast Asia. Its location will overlap with the habitat of Leopard Cats in Miaoli. Pollution from the cremation process will also pollute the air, local drinking water and water used for agriculture. At present, the clearing of land and trees has been completed, which means that part of the forest is now destroyed. Citizens have since filed administrative litigation against Miaoli County.
Construction of Miaoli County Sanyi bypass route will cost 5.4 billion TWD but developers plan on only purchasing 20 hectares of additional farmland for leopard cats as their secondary habitat. Developers proposed a plan to build a corridor for the cats to cross over to their “new” land; however, the plan is completely unfeasible due to leopard cats disfavor of asphalt roads. According to long term research, leopard cats inhabit very large home ranges. The building of an asphalt road will affect their natural behavior and will further constrain their habitat. Furthermore, it is absurd to believe that these animals will ‘move’ in to their new farmland naturally. Further habitat loss could result in inbreeding which will further jeopardize the welfare of the endangered leopard cats. Moreover, the possibility of the cats being hit by cars when crossing the road is high and the asphalt road to be built will cut across dangerous landslides areas which will also affect local ecology. This construction project has been proposed due to congested traffic in the area on weekends; however the main reason for congestion is due to the high amount of tourists and a lack of parking. Will the project truly solve the problem or simply sacrifice the leopard cats’ lives for no practical reason?
According to developers, leopard cats live mostly in tunnels and overpasses and the construction will not influence their habitat. However, that is completely untrue. According to Ms. Chen, a leopard cat researcher, “The ecology and animals of the area are precious to Miaoli County. There are many endangered animals living here, especially leopard cats and civets cat. The road project will provide good opportunities for many land owners in the area and will bring even more construction proposals. One can see it is not merely a road project, it is something that will lead to the extinction of the leopard cats.”
Local Miaoli resident Miss Lin points out, “There is not much traffic in the area on weekdays. Traffic congestion on holidays and peak hours can be resolved by traffic control and allocating more parking spaces. The bypass route won't bring any convenience to our residents and it will breach local ecology. We definitely do not want the bypass route!”
Luxgen Motor’s second warehouse construction is near several faults and is extremely dangerous to have any construction on fragile soil. Not to mention, this is also the habitat of many animals such as the leopard cat, civets cats, pangolins, crested serpent eagles and many other species. Luxgen's electric cars are supposed to benefit the environment; however, quite ironically, it will be done at the cost of destroying the homes of wild endangered animals. The TSPCA strongly urges Luxgen Motors to review their corporate social responsibility agenda and stop plans to build a warehouse within the leopard cat’s habitat.
The research team of professor Pei Jia-Ci of The National Ping Tung University of Science and Technology indicated that over the years, local government and private construction projects have all contributed to the destruction of the leopard cats’ habitat. Two years of research about leopard cats reveal that their habitat is now decreasing rapidly. Leopard cats in Taiwan also encounter various other threats such as, illegal hunting, gin traps and poisonous baits. Research shows Leopard cats are now on the verge of extinction.
The TSPCA urges Miaoli County to take the issue at hand seriously and be responsible for protecting leopard cats and other wild animals in the area. We hope more residents and NGOs will join us in the fight to save leopard cats from extinction. We urge the Environment Protection Administration to assess the Sanyi bypass route proposal with great caution.
The Original Report can be found here: