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Man cautioned for keeping endangered leopard cat at home for 15 years

By Philip Kendall

According to a recent NHK news report, a man living on the island of Tsushima narrowly avoided prosecution after it became clear that he had secretly kept a wild Japanese leopard cat in his home for 15 years before he was forced to seek assistance. As angered as the authorities were, however, they ultimately decided that they might learn from the man’s experiences and are due to talk to him about how he managed to keep the animal alive for such a length of time.

Tsushima leopard cats, an isolated species known to live on the island of the same name between the Japanese mainland and the Korean Peninsula, are currently on Japan’s endangered species list, with as few as 100 thought to remain in the wild. One man, however, appears to be a dab hand at caring for the creatures as he managed to keep one at home for as long as the average pampered domestic cat lives for.

According to the NHK report, the unnamed man contacted a local animal welfare center on Oct 18 by phone, saying, “the wild Tsushima cat I have been caring for is ill and needs treatment.” A veterinarian was sent to the man’s house to tend to the sick animal – a female aged around 16 years – but when it was judged that the cat was too weak to be treated on site it was transported to the center where, sadly, it died several hours later, at which point Japan’s Ministry of the Environment became involved.

When questioned about the animal, its former owner told authorities that he had discovered the young cat lying injured in the road some 15 years ago, and after having taken it to an animal hospital for treatment, decided to keep it at home.

Apparently the arrangement worked out fairly well for both of them as, despite the sudden change of environment, the animal lived to be quite a respectable age for a feline, with authorities commenting that it likely died of age-related diseases.

Ordinarily, the man would have been prosecuted for the possession of an endangered animal, but authorities ruled that there was no evidence of the cat having come to any harm under the man’s care and acknowledged that he had chosen to help the animal when it most needed it. In fact, representatives from the ministry have decided to take this opportunity to talk with the former owner to ascertain how he managed to care for the rare animal for so long and keep it in good health as numbers of wild Tsushima leopard cats continue to dwindle.

Source: NHK News Web via Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- 500 cats & dogs legally killed in Japan each day -- Island filled to the brim with felines -- One young woman’s fight to replace shark fishing with ecotourism

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Its nice to hear sanity and justice prevail over the word of the law.

Without that man, the cat would have died long ago. Sadly government is polluted with vindictive losers who would have robotically gone after him with both barrels. He was lucky.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Without this man the cat would have died-he should get a medal!!!!!!!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Nice to see Japan not just rubber stamping something and actually seeing through the lines

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It sounds like the man really cared for the animal, and the feeling was probably mutual. If the cat had been pining for the wild it probably would not have lived to such a ripe old age. Well done, Tsushima man.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Looking at images of the Tsushima leopard cat, it could be mistaken for a domestic cat. The owner may have not known its' exact species.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Reminds me of he Iriomote cat,(another ghost of an animal) hard to tell the differences. A cat is a cat is a cat unless you move up in varieties, to the big cats then you sure know the difference,certainly not calling it kitty.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

He was probably able to take care of it so long because he was able to feed it. I bet the reason its on the indangered list beause its species is struggling to feed themselves.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'd hate being cautioned for 15 years too, so annoying

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I have heard of this island and know that it is popular for Koreans to go to also as it is a pretty short distance from Busan. I applaud this man for saving this cat. It is not as bad as some of those endangered snake owners who get caught after getting bit.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Whilst this man sounds like a caring person who looked after the Leopard cat, it is very regrettable the beast didn't (presumably) get a chance to breed in captivity. Glad that sanity prevailed and no charges were pressed.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Pics of one of these cats?

Never heard of it. Heard of the Iriomote neko, but that's way far away...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Pics of one of these cats?

Never heard of it. Heard of the Iriomote neko, but that's way far away...


0 ( +0 / -0 )

He should have tried to cross-breeding with domestic cat. If it was succeed and then it will be very interesting. I think this Tsushima leopard cat or similar wild cat has been cross-breeding with domestic cat and sold as designer cat in US.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

You do have to wonder about the treatment from the original animal hospital 15 years ago- what he goes to the vet with this young leopard and they don't think to notify the local authorities, they just hand back the animal to this local man. Here have this treated but still weak wild young animal- I am sure you will naturally do the right thing. The vet couldn't recognize a non-domesticated cat.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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