Heartbreaking moment leopard cat and her kitten are found dead after being hit by car

This is the heartbreaking moment a leopard cat and her kitten were found dead - curled up next to each other on the roadside.

The endangered animals were found by residents in Miaoli County, Taiwan, last Friday morning (August 23).

The mother is believed to have been struck by a car as she carried the baby in her mouth. The impact killed both of them.

The two deaths add the growing number of leopard cats - an endangered species in Taiwan - that have been killed in the region.

An adult leopard cat was found dead on a nearby motorway the night before, while a few days before a young leopard cat was seen dead on the roadside of Provincial Highway 61.

The police have started an investigation to find the drivers of the cars believed to have hit the felines.

Between November 2011 and June 20, 2019, there were 77 reported incidents of leopard cats killed on Taiwan’s roads. Of those deaths, 56 occurred in Miaoli County.

Taiwan's Forestry Bureau lists the leopard cat as a class-one endangered animal, with fewer than 1,000 estimated remaining island-wide.

The leopard cat, or Prionailurus bengalensis, is a small wild cat about the size of a domestic cat, but more slender.