Endangered and elusive Tsushima leopard cat captured
TSUSHIMA, Nagasaki -- A Tsushima leopard cat, an endangered feline unique to Nagasaki Prefecture's Tsushima Island, was found in southern Tsushima and placed in the care of a wildlife center, officials said.
Officials at the Tsushima Wildlife Conservation Center, which opened in 1997, said it was the first time in several decades that a living leopard cat had been taken into protection on the southern part of Tsushima.
The Tsushima leopard cat was found on the premises of Kyudenko Co. in Tsushima city, and captured by several employees. It is believed that the male leopard cat, which weighed about 1,130 grams, was born in about spring this year. It appeared weak, but was eating food given to it. The center will wait until it regains its health and decide whether or not to return it to the wild.
Tsushima leopard cats are designated by the Ministry of the Environment as an endangered species. There are an estimated 80 to 110 of the cats mainly in the northern area of Tsushima. Previously they lived on both the northern and southern areas of the island, which are separated by water channels, but as the result of environmental changes their numbers have declined markedly, particularly in the southern area.
(Mainichi Japan) December 30, 2009
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