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Council of Agriculture and Carrefour Join Hands to Market "Leopard Cat-Friendly Farming" and Actively Promote the Creation of Safe Leopard Cat Habitats!

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202007/10
The Endemic Species Research Institute (ESRI) under the Council of Agriculture (COA) of the Executive Yuan, the Forestry Bureau, and Carrefour have joined hands to promote leopard cat-friendly farming and signed a declaration on leopard cat conservation at 2:00 p.m. on July 10th. Farmers who already have their leopard cat-friendly produce on the shelves at Carrefour were also invited to join the event. This positive action, which takes into account livelihood, production, and ecosystem, is a joint initiative between enterprises and the public sector to assist farmers in marketing environmentally-friendly agricultural products—namely, the Mitrephora maingayi banana variety.
The leopard cat is currently listed as an endangered protected species, and is mainly found in the counties of Miaoli, Taichung, and Nantou, where it inhabits mountain foothills. Since foothills are also main areas of human habitation, farming, and other activities, as well as being mostly privately-owned lands, much of the natural landscape has been altered by humans. Cultivated land, which occupies a large area of the foothills, can be a viable habitat for leopard cats, especially if it is surrounded by a diversity of environments, such as mixed woodland, fallow fields, grassland, or streams. In the past, some of the sampling points where monitoring cameras have tracked leopard cats were on farmlands, and the tracking data of the leopard cat showed that their activity range covers many farmland areas, indicating the close relationship between farmland and leopard cats.
The Council of Agriculture (COA) has been actively promoting environmentally-friendly farming in recent years, and has brought local organizations in different regions together to carry out a wide range of conservation work for protected species. In view of the fact that farmland is also the main habitat of the leopard cat, the Endemic Species Research Institute (ESRI) and the Forestry Bureau (both under the COA) began to promote leopard cat-friendly farming in the leopard cat's habitat range in 2014. The pilot project was implemented in Nantou County's Zhongliao Township, a leopard cat hotspot, in the hope that through farmers' affirmation and actions, the leopard cat's habitat can improve in quality. Furthermore, farmers will be able to use the leopard cat as a brand to market their agricultural products, which addresses both production and the ecosystem. However, most of the farmers cultivate many different types of crops on little land, so the process of integrated marketing has been fraught with obstacles.
In August 2019, Carrefour began working with farmers in Zhongliao Township, Nantou County, to help sell their leopard cat-friendly agricultural produce. In March of this year, Carrefour formally held discussions with the ESRI and the Forestry Bureau, and indicated willingness to work with more farmers who had obtained the "Leopard Cat-Friendly Farming" label to help sell their produce. This act of affirmation was undoubtedly a great encouragement to the farmers, the COA, and related departments. This group of farmers not only uses organic or environmentally-friendly farming methods, but also does not use traps, rat poison, nor do they keep dogs, allowing the leopard cats to move around and forage safely on the land. These can be said to be the most direct and effective conservation actions. In fact, these farmers are the best local guardians of conservation.
It is believed that with Carrefour's assistance with marketing, once these "leopard cat-friendly agricultural produce" are available across large shopping channels, it will not only provide a more stable income for the farmers, but, with these local farmers serving as their protectors, it will also create a safer home for the leopard cats! We need the support of the general public to purchase these leopard cat-friendly agricultural products that balance livelihood, production, and the ecosystem!
 
※ Each leopard cat-friendly agricultural product sold at the partner stores has the "Leopard Cat-Friendly Farming" label, and each label includes the producer's name. For more information, please visit the Leopard Cat Conservation - Support the Cats! official website to view introductions and information on the farmers.
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