Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Cats Causing Extinctions

One of the biggest extinction crises on the planet is occurring in Australia, and the culprit is feral cats.

The Australian government says there are approximately 20 million feral cats in the country, and that they threaten to push over 100 species over the edge, as each cat eats between three and 20 native animals a day.

The solution is clear and Australia is gearing up for it: a massive continent-wide poisoning of feral cats using aircraft to scatter "Eradicat" bait -- a combination of kangaroo mince, chicken fat, and a deadly poison called 1080 -- across Australia's vast outback.

The goal is not to eliminate feral cats entirely, which is probably impossible, but to knock down their numbers substantially across broad regions order to give native wildlife breathing room.

The 1080 poison, also known as sodium fluoroacetate, is supposedly a particularly good solution for the state of Western Australia because it is made from plants that grow in the region and native animals have (supposedly) evolved a resistance which non-natives have not.

One problem, of course, is hunting and stock-working dogs which may come across bait and ingest it.  If a dog eats 1080 poison, it's pretty well done for.

What's really needed to solve the feral cat problem in Australia, and around the world,  is some sort of viral immuno contraceptive.  The basic biology is understood, but getting the pathogen to work on rabbits, deer, fox, and cats, has proven harder to operationalize than first thought.  In addition, there clear, serious, and reasonable concerns about releasing such a virus in the wild.  In the meantime, mass killing seems the only way forward.

Dead feral cats in a tree by the road, Southern Australia


Nature Advocate said...

Their paltry approach will never work. It will fail the same way TNR fails. You must reduce the total number of reproductive animals in any one region by 80%-90% in less than 1 breeding cycle. In the case of these man-made invasive-species vermin cats that's 3-4 months. (By "region", I mean any area that is larger than a cat can migrate to to find another cat with which it can breed within 1-2 breeding cycles.)

More new cats will have been born in the first year than they want to cull in 5 years. They're in a canoe slipping backward in a fast-flowing stream that's accelerating faster than they need to paddle upstream. They might as well be up Shîť-Crick (creek) without any paddle at all, at least they'd be standing still. That would actually be real progress compared to what they are trying to do.

If they want to solve anything they need to destroy about 19 million to 29 million of them in the first year. (Based on Australia's estimated vermin-cat populations of 20M and 30M respectively.) Then 80-90% of all remaining stray cats in every following year. (You must destroy all collared stray cats too, they are the very source of every last feral cat. It's the only way it stopped where I live too. Cat-lickers lie incessantly. Just as all my cat-licking neighbors lied for 10 years about their hundreds of collared cats all being sterilized. Upon inspection during shooting their cats for them, NOT ONE of their cats was sterilized.)

I shot and buried every last one of hundreds of these vermin in my area (collared or not) over 5 years ago and haven't seen even one since. This was accomplished by destroying them all before any more could breed even one time.

Hunted to Extinction works. Just ask the Passenger Pigeon. Oh wait, you can't, they're extinct.

PBurns said...

Bounties work too -- ask the wolves of Pennsylvnia. None of them around either.

Australia is going slow with a 2 million kill within 10 feral cat-free enclosures which will be among the largest fenced in habitat areas in the Northern Territory. Cats will also be killed in 10 million hectares in neighboring areas.

If these kills work, and the wildlife comes back (count on it), look for a more aggressive plan with bounties, bait stations, fencing, and drop poisoning from the air. Once you prove it WORKS and wildlife comes back and by-death is not large, public support will SOAR.

Nature Advocate said...

PBurns said, "If these kills work, and the wildlife comes back (count on it),..."

All NATIVE wildlife on my lands is now returning to normal, it rebounded faster than I could have ever hoped for. I estimate about 1 returning or 1 never-seen-before native species arrived on my land PER DAY for 5 years since every last cat is gone. That's a LOT of species that cats destroyed or starved to death during their 15 years here. Nature is once again back in balance, as it was, and as it should be. Native predators are no longer starving to death due to cats destroying their only food sources. No countless thousands of prey-specie animals being tortured to death for disemboweled and skinned-alive twitching play-toys for vermin cats. No longer are these invasive species cats spreading their 3dozen+ deadly zoonotic diseases to all animals and humans. AND I no longer have any rodent problem (a problem that showed-up around the same time the cats started to show up -- read http://scitizen.Com/neuroscience/parasite-hijacks-the-mind-of-its-host_a-23-509.html ). Owls returned, as did the hawks, fox, raccoons, shrikes, and opossum and other NATIVE predators that get rid of rodents the RIGHT WAY, without attracting more rodents with cats' T. gondii brain-hijacking parasite. The most valuable of all are the tiny 1.75-inch Masked Shrew, which evolved a poisonous bite specifically for preying on rodents at their very source, in the burrows right where rodents breed. Even the scent of them being around your home drives-away rodents. Cats ALWAYS destroy these tiny David vs. Goliath marvels first, thus ensuring an endless supply of rodents to entertain the cats and their own stupid lives on into infinity.

I get to hear owls hooting again every night, a sound I had not heard for 15 years because cats had destroyed all their visible/attainable food sources. One so tame it sits on a branch about 10 ft. from my door. It caught a vole I had disturbed one time while I was walking through my yard, the owl landing nearly between my feet to capture the vole. It just looking straight-up at me all proud about its catch. I had to step over that owl to let it continue on in its proud moment. (I named it "Who", so I can do my own truncated comedy-routine when a visitor asks what that owl is doing right there. "Who?" :-) ) Hawks soar over my trees again. Chipmunks treat me to a chipmunk-chorus most every calm summer evening again, another sound I had not heard for 15 years. (Ever hear that sound? It sounds like a melodic wooden wind-chime coming from every direction in the forest as they call to each other, each clucking with their own unique note of their chorus before bedding-down. It's an astounding experience to hear it just once in your life but I get to hear it most every calm warm day before sunset, sometimes in calm late mornings too before they take their noon nap.) A family of Gray Fox (one of the most beneficial native animals to grace the land) made a den near my home. I often see them bringing a clownish kit or two along with to patrol my yard for any edibles. Birds I had never seen in my life before now nest here. 2 of the species are warblers listed in the top-10-songbirds of the world. What an amazing sound to awaken to during warm months. I wasn't a birder before but these amazing animals are now convincing me otherwise.

The lifelong rewards for destroying and disposing of every last one of these pestilent invasive-species vermin cats on your lands are priceless and immeasurable.

I now feel nothing but pity for anyone who has cats around them. They have made their own lives and the lives of all others around them as dismally bereft and empty as their own -- and they don't even realize it.