ALL 互動英語 03月號/2020 第184期

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  • 出版日期:2020/02/20
  • 語言:繁體中文
  • 頁數: 84
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Taiwanese Leopard Cats: Clinging to Survival
保育石虎從你我開始

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Taiwanese Leopard Cats: Clinging to Survival
保育石虎從你我開始
—Meagunn Hart
3/5
When people think of the world’s wildcats, they picture big ones: lions, tigers, leopards, and jaguars. However, that excludes more than 30 species of wildcats documented across much of the world. Most regions lay claim to their own variety of wildcat, and for centuries, the island of Taiwan was fortunate enough to have two: the Formosan clouded leopard and the Taiwanese leopard cat.

Sadly, due to a combination of overhunting and habitat loss, clouded leopards are thought to be extinct in Taiwan today. The leopard cat, on the other hand, is still clinging to survival, with estimates putting the total population at fewer than 500 individuals. Unlike clouded leopards, leopard cats can hide in plain sight. They’re the same size as a domestic cat and have similar tendencies—they primarily eat mice and rats, and though they can swim, they prefer to avoid water.

Leopard cats sit firmly at the top of the food chain in the places they call home, mainly the low-altitude mountain regions of Miaoli, Taichung, and Nantou. Their presence in these areas keeps the local ecosystem in balance. Research begun little more than a decade ago has started to demonstrate just how essential they are—and why we need to save them.

人們想到世界上的野貓時,他們想的是大型貓科動物:獅子、老虎、花豹和美洲豹。然而,那並不包括三十多種世界各地多數地方有記載的野生貓科物種。大部分地區都宣稱擁有特有的野貓,而幾世紀以來,台灣這個島上有幸擁有兩種:台灣雲豹和台灣石虎。

令人難過的是,由於濫捕加上棲地消失,今天雲豹在台灣已被認為絕種了。另一方面,石虎仍然在竭力求生中,估計總數不到五百隻。和雲豹不同的是,石虎會躲在明顯的地方。牠們的體型和家貓一樣,也有相似的習性——牠們主要以鼠類為食,而牠們雖然會游泳,卻比較喜歡離水遠一點。

石虎在牠們的棲地中穩坐食物鏈頂端,棲地主要是在苗栗、台中和南投的低海拔山區。牠們出現在這些地區使當地的生態系統能維持平衡。十多年前展開的研究已開始顯示牠們是多麼不可或缺——以及為什麼我們需要拯救牠們。

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ALL 互動英語 03月號/2020 第184期