Words and photos provided by Information Bureau of Taichung City Government
Translated by Anna Yang
Designing the Flora Expo venue and mascot around the protected leopard cat
It is a well-known fact that Taichung City is hosting the World Flora Exposition from November this year. A few years ago, as the city government conducted a survey of ecological resources during planning for this event, it was noted that the habitat of Taiwan’s protected leopard cat was located in Houli District. As the city government believed that wildlife conservation was a priority, the originally-planned 81-hectare exposition venue in Houli District was consequently changed to a total of 91 hectares shared with two other venues in Waipu and Fengyuan districts. This proposal received strong affirmation from the International Association of Horticultural Producers (IAPH) and allowed the Taichung International Flora Expo, originally designated as an A2-level event, to be upgraded to the A1-level Taichung World Flora Exposition.
In order to promote leopard cat protection, Taichung City Government also created the “Shihu (Leopard Cat) Family” mascots for the flora event as part of an overall government campaign encouraging the public to support and protect these animals.
Leopard Cat Protection Act requires cooperation with other cities
Taichung City has enacted the “Taiwanese Leopard Cat Protection Act” to provide a legal basis for conservation of the leopard cat since the end of March this year and research on the animal’s Taichung habitat will help create a friendlier environment for leopard cats in Houli, Xinshe, Dongshi and Beitun districts. While the number of leopard cats detected in Taichung is not the largest in Taiwan, Taichung serves as a main migration route. Thus, the city government hopes the above measures will boost their population numbers.
Taichung City Government has signed a memorandum of cooperation with Miaoli County Government, declaring that both areas will cooperate in protecting the leopard cat habitat on both sides of the Daan River. Mayor Lin Chia-lung hopes that such cooperation between Taichung, Changhua, Nantou and Miaoli will offer a safe, improved habitat for these wild felines.
Encouraging residents to trust the abilities of assistance dogs
Besides protecting wildlife, Taichung City Government is also focusing on Man’s Best Friend, with dogs participating in the flora exposition. The “Go Go Assistance Dog” team was established by the fire department in 2016 with select dogs entering a canine training camp. In October, 2017, a dog named “Iron Hero” received an IRO certificate, while another rescue dog “Tuei Tuei” was was certified to rescue survivors. In February, two employees trapped in Hualien’s Marshal Hotel earthquake collapse were subsequently rescued by “Iron Hero”, who was later recognized as a Taichung “City Ambassador”.
In order to strengthen search, inspection, anti-explosive, anti-drugs and security efforts, Taichung City Police Bureau announced that a dog patrol team would be formally created in March. Mayor Lin noted that the dog patrol team and police have cooperated and carried out several major anti-drug inspections. Such efforts are also expected to boost the safety of the Taichung Flora Expo and other events as the number of patrol dogs gradually increases.
Taichung City to publish tourist handbook (including public transportation and other facilities) for pets
Taichung City Government is now planning to offer a tourist handbook for pets as the city aims to become animal-friendly in 2018. This publication will provide routes for visitors and their pets to enjoy the Taichung World Flora Exposition and other scenic spots. Other information will include parks and public transportation for visitors and their pets as Taichung transforms into an animal-friendly pet paradise.
In order to promote wildlife protection and assistance dogs serving the public, Taichung City Government is encouraging everyone to learn more about animals’ innate abilities alongside efforts to introduce a variety of services and facilities for animals.