Due to the fact that 76 townships in nine counties and cities in Taiwan are continuing to see cases of Formosan ferret-badgers infected with rabies, to restrict the disease to wild animals and protect pets, owners and all visitors, in accordance with the Council of Agriculture announcement of July 26, 2016, the Forestry Bureau will continue to prohibit dogs, cats and other mammals from entering all the Bureau’s subsidiary National Forest Recreation Areas, Forest Parks and Lalashan Forest Reserve. The areas covered by the ban are the following 18 National Forest Recreation Areas
, namely, Taipingshan, Neidong, Manyueyuan, Dongyanshan, Guanwu, Dasyueshan, Basianshan, Wuling, Hehuanshan, Aowanda, Alishan, Tengjhih, Shuangliou, Kenting, Jhihben, Siangyang, Fuyuan and Chihnan, as well as Forest Parks such as Danongdafu Forest Park, Chiayi Aogu Wetland and Forest Park and Pindong Linhousilin Forest Park. Cilan, Mingchi and Huisu Forest Recreation Areas have also announced a ban on entrance of dogs and cats and other mammals.
In Taiwan, cases of Formosan ferret-badgers infected with rabies have been discovered since 2013. The rabies monitoring report of the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan, shows that cases testing positive for rabies continue to be found this year (2016) and, to date in 2016, there have been seven cases of infected badgers biting people, more than the four cases in the whole of last year (2015). Dead badgers and Formosan gem-faced civets found in the forest recreation areas under the Forestry Bureau have also tested positive for rabies. The Forestry Bureau invited the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, Centers for Disease Control of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, and other related agencies and experts for discussion of epidemic control, safety of pets entering recreation areas and epidemic risks and took on board various opinions. Considering that the rabies epidemic situation is still serious and if a pet encounters an infected wild animal it is likely to be attacked, allowing entrance of pets will not just put the pet at risk but also the owner and other visitors. Hence, to effectively reduce the chance of such encounters between pets and wild animals, the Forestry Bureau decided to continue implementing the relatively strict epidemic prevention measures.
The Forestry Bureau reminded people that, under the Statute for Prevention and Control of Infectious Animal Disease, if pets are taken into National Forest Recreation Areas, Forest Parks and Lalashan Nature Reserve and other areas subject to the ban, the owner will be subject to a fine of NT$50,000 to one million. When visiting recreational forest areas, visitors are forbidden from contacting or feeding wildlife. They are also requested to immediately notify the authority responsible for preventing infectious animal disease or the forest district offices under the Forestry Bureau if wild animals suspected of having rabies are seen.
As well as rabies prevention, National Forest Recreation Areas have abundant wildlife resources and contact between wild animals and pets will not only make the wild animals more wary, Canine distemper, Canine parvovirus and other infectious diseases could be transmitted to the wild animals. To allow visitors to view an abundance of wildlife while soaking up Phytoncides in National Forest Recreation Areas, everyone needs to take part in maintaining a healthy ecological environment. The public is sincerely invited to protect the rich flora and fauna of Taiwan.