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Taiwan, a small island of the coast of Western Pacific Ocean, has only two
(2) native cat species, Formosan Clouded Leopard and Leopard Cat. Formosan
clouded leopard has long disappeared and unfortunately, leopard cat is facing
the same fate.
(石虎)Leopard cat is the name given to Proionailurus bengalensis in Taiwan.
Although leopard cat can still be seen elsewhere in East Asia, there are
only fewer than 500 of them scattered around the island. The largest and
most stable habitat of leopard cat is at the hillside of Houlong, a hilly
district in Miaoli County. Studies as early as 2005 have confirmed that
Houlong is an important leopard cat habitat; its destruction would lead to
the extinction of leopard cat in Taiwan. However, the local government, with
cooperation of death care industry, plans to develop Houlong into the largest
“funeral district” in the East Asia (the “Houlong Project”). Although
the development plan passed through the government-conducted environmental
impact assessment studies, the studies did not address leopard cat’s
endangered status and made no mention of the development site as the
important habitat of leopard cat. Furthermore, the destruction has started
The fact that Houlong Project’s environmental impact assessment studies
failed to assess impacts on leopard cat’s habitat is in clear violation of
Article 6 of the Environmental Impact Assessment Act of Taiwan. According to
the Act, the developer must address the plan’s major impacts on
environments, and detail solutions and alternatives for such impacts. The
government’s failure to raise concerns on leopard cat’s habitat in its
review is a clear violation of its duties, and gives rise to both criminal
and administrative liabilities.
But the more press issue is that the development is already going full speed
ahead since June 13, 2012. This means the leopard cat’s habitat is in
immediate danger and the development site’s fragile landscape is facing
irrevocable destruction. Civil societies have launched lawsuits in efforts
to haul the development, but under current law, the destruction can continue
until a definitive final ruling says otherwise.
A more probable route is the government’s own decision to suspend
development, and this is where we NEED YOUR HELP! The most effective way to
press for a suspension is to voice your opposition through petition and media
coverage. Pressure from international community and intense media coverage
on destruction of leopard cat’s habitat is the best way to force the
government to do the right thing.
Best regards!/ph...
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