Taiwan cemetery 'threatens leopard cats'

Leopard Cats (above) were once thought to be extinct.

TAIPEI - Taiwanese lawmakers and animal rights activists on Wednesday urged the government to stop building a cemetery to avoid destroying the habitat of leopard cats.

Construction for the 28-hectare (69-acre) funeral site in central Taiwan has begun but critics argue that environmental assessment of the project was flawed because it failed to mention the area is home to the cats.

"The construction will cause pollution, damage the habitat of leopard cats to threaten their survival and hurt the ecological balance," said a spokeswoman for lawmaker Tien Chiu-chin.

Tien urged the authorities to immediately halt the construction and to conduct a new environmental study.

Leopard cats, which are slightly larger than domestic cats, are seen in the forests in some parts of central Taiwan although there is no official data on the number of the rare animal.

According to the Forestry Bureau, it's a class-one endangered animal in Taiwan.

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