Fifth Iriomote wildcat killed this year
An Iriomote wildcat, a designated national treasure in Japan, was hit and killed by a car on Route 215 on Iriomote Island, Monday. The cat became the 5th killed in a road accident this year.
The worst year on record was 2013 when a total of six of the endangered cats were killed, but this is already the 5th case even though more than half of the year is still left.
According to Naha Natural Environment Office, the dead cat seemed to have been a mother raising a litter, and officials at the office are concerned the baby cats could become further fatalities in car accidents or could get in trouble otherwise. They are asking the public to notify them immediately if someone finds a baby wildcat on Iriomote.
The cat that died in the accident was 52cm long and weighed 2.8kg. Its body was discovered on the road about 20:20 in the evening on Jun. 13th, and it looked like it had been hit less than 20 minutes before.
Officials at the Iriomote Wildlife Conservation Center say this is the season when wildlife is raising their young, and they urge drivers to be careful. “We think to declare an emergency before this year becomes the worst,” an official said.