Taiwanese Leopard Considered Extinct, Spotted For The First Time Since 1983

Mar 04 2019 

Taiwanese Leopard Considered Extinct, Spotted For The First Time Since 1983

With scientists and conservationists saying that the Earth is currently undergoing the sixth mass extinction of plants and animals and species going extinct at up to 1000, to 10,000 the natural, rate, the world is going downhill, fast. However, very rarely, everyone is reminded that it’s perhaps not too late.

One of these rare occasions has just occurred in Taiwan where a rare species of large cat, the Formosan clouded leopard, has just been spotted in the wilderness by a number of people across the archipelago’s southeast region. The leopard has been spotted walking around in the countryside near Taitung County’s Daren Township, where the area’s Paiwan tribal authorities had formed indigenous ranger groups to patrol the region and guard the sensitive areas.

Leopard Formosan Clouded

Species hasn’t been sighted since 1983

This is actually great news because this particular species of Leopard hasn’t been officially sighted since 1983, more than 35 years ago, and 6 years ago, in 2013, it was officially decades as extinct. This gives hope to many other animals that were once thought to be extinct. Maybe they are still out there somewhere. It was first spotted by a group of rangers when it suddenly climbed up a tree and then scrambled up a cliff side to go and hunt for goats. Another group also spotted it when it darted in front of their scooter before quickly claiming another tree and disappearing from sight for good. Even though the group didn’t manage to see it again, at least they know it exists and was able to report back about it.

Tribal members want to stop hunting in the area

As soon as the news was heard, a tribal meeting was held by the locals to discuss how is best to move forward. The tribal members of the village are aiming to stop hunting in the area by outsiders, while village elders are lobbying Taiwanese authorities to end logging and other activities that harm the land, and potentially this rare animal as well. The Formosan is known to be quite agile and vigilant, eluding human attempts to trap or otherwise capture it, so it’s somewhat of a mystery that should probably just be left in its natural habitat.

Taiwan Clouded Leopard

Historical records of the rare cat date back to around the 13th century, when indigenous people brought the leopard’s pelts to trade at the busy markets of port cities like Tainan. Many believe that Japanese anthropologist Torii Ryūzō, in 1900, was the only non-indigenous person to have actually seen a live Formosan clouded leopard.

‘Extinct’ Taiwanese Leopard Spotted for the First Time Since Disappearing in 1983

Our world has become a very rough neighborhood in recent years, with scientists and conservationists saying that the Earth is currently undergoing the sixth mass extinction of plants and animals and species going extinct at up to 1,000 to 10,000 times the natural rate.

However, on rare occasions, we’re reminded that perhaps it’s not too late for everyone—perhaps the reports of an animal species’ demise were premature, even if that species remains in grave danger.

Such is the case in Taiwan, where a rare species of large cat, the Formosan clouded leopard, has been spotted in the wilderness by a number of people across the archipelago’s southeast, according to Taiwan News.

The Formosan clouded leopard hadn’t been officially sighted since 1983 and was declared extinct in 2013.

The leopard had been spotted prowling in the countryside near Taitung County’s Daren Township, where the area’s Paiwan tribal authorities had formed indigenous ranger groups to patrol the region and guard sensitive areas.

According to Taiwan News, the rangers spotted the leopard–known as Li’uljaw and holding a sacred status for locals–suddenly climbed a tree before scrambling up a cliff to hunt for goats. Another group witnessed the Asian cat dart past a scooter before quickly climbing a tree and disappearing from sight.

The significance of the find is striking for locals, who held tribal meetings in Alangyi Village to determine how best to move forward.

Tribal members of the village hope to halt hunting in the area by outsiders, while village elders are lobbying Taiwanese authorities to end logging and other activities that harm the land.

The Formosan is known to be quite agile and vigilant, eluding human attempts to trap or otherwise capture it.

National Taitung University’s Department of Life Science professor Liu Chiung-hsi told Focus Taiwan News Channel:

“I believe this animal still does exist.”

Professor Liu also noted that in past investigations of the leopard’s whereabouts, he encountered hunters from the indigenous Bunun people who admitted capturing the animal on several occasions in the late 1990s. However, they burned the bodies for fear of violating Taiwan’s Wildlife Conservation Act.

From 2001 to 2013, a team of Taiwanese and U.S. zoologists surveyed the region but failed to sight the animal once, prompting the declaration that the Formosan clouded leopard had officially gone extinct.

Historical records of the rare cat date back to around the 13th century, when indigenous people brought the leopard’s pelts to trade at the busy markets of port cities like Tainan. It is believed that Japanese anthropologist Torii Ryūzō, in 1900, was the only non-indigenous person to have actually seen a live Formosan clouded leopard.

https://themindunleashed.com/2019/03/extinct-taiwanese-leopard-spotted.html?fbclid=IwAR1OWgulHvsfDdS_lbjX1jDTilb97DJKRxs_JHXbwRGjruk7UK-GXSY7Rec

 

Taiwan nabs truck-load of illegal shark meat

Fisheries Agency seizes over 30 tons of illicit shark meat in southern Taiwan

Over 30 tons of contraband shark meat. (Image courtesy of Fisheries Agency)

Over 30 tons of contraband shark meat. (Image courtesy of Fisheries Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan authorities seized over 30 tones of illegal shark meat at Kaohsiung Xiagang Fishing Harbor (高雄小港漁港) on Sept. 5, the Fisheries Agency (漁業署) said in a statement yesterday.

The seizure is the biggest haul since revised offshore fishing rules entered into force in 2006, according to the Fisheries Agency.

Fishing of silky shark is banned by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, which led Taiwan to do the same.

30 tons of silky shark (carcharhinus falciformis) meat was seized during an inspection of a small fishing boat named “Jin-chang 6” (金昌6號). The boat came under suspicion after authorities noted the vessel made unscheduled stops in two other fishing ports.

The suspicious catch was confirmed to be that of the banned silky shark days later, after a positive DNA test, which led the contents of the boat to be seized on Sept. 13.

The Fishery Agency said that according to relevant regulation, the boat operators face of a fine of between NT$2-10 million (US$65,000-325,000), and potential revocation of fishing licenses.

The Fisheries Agency urges the public to not catch illegal aquatic animals, adding it has set up a 24-hour monitoring center to tackle illegal fishing.

Although some forms of shark are legal to eat in Taiwan, the practice has gained increasing opposition from environmental groups. According to a recent survey by the WildAid and Life Conservationist Association found 76 percent of Taiwanese people surveyed had eaten shark fin soup in the past three years, but only 32 percent within the last year.