A cat colony started and maintained by Google employees, complete with automatic 24-hour a day feeders is killing rare Burrowing Owls a short distance from their headquarters in Mountainview, California.
With perhaps only 50 Burrowing Owls left in Silicone Valley, the cats are a major wildlife threat that needs to be extinguished the only way a feral cat colony can be extinguished: Trap, Kill, and Bury.
From The New York Times:
Environmentalists have been alarmed for a long time about the number of cats at Shoreline, but they could not determine where they were coming from. Gradually, public records requests and old-fashioned snooping uncovered a trail. It led southwest from the sun-burnished slopes of the park, up Permanente Creek and into the ever-expanding empire of Google.
Google never set out to threaten biodiversity in its front yard, of course. Like so many stories these days about Big Tech, this is a tale about how attempts to do good often produce unexpected consequences, and how even smart people (especially, perhaps, smart people) can be reluctant to rethink their convictions.
At Google, it is not so much that workers do not like birds as it is that they really love cats. There is an employee group called GCat Rescue that traps the cats around the so-called Googleplex. Kittens and friendly adults are put up for adoption. Less-friendly adult cats are neutered and released.
Google is famous for feeding its employees well, and the cats are no different. Every night, all night, dinner is served from cat-feeding stations. The cat community calls this approach “colony care.”
|A bulk cat feeding station next to a Google building.|
Of course, "colony care" is really just "trap, neuter and re-abandon to kill some more."
Colony care programs based on "trap, neuter, and release have NEVER ended a feral cat colony ANYWHERE.
The cats continue to kill birds and small mammals, and they also get injured in fights, in encounters with wildlife such as coyotes and dogs, and they get worms and other diseases. The cats live as killers and die in misery so a few people can feel better about themselves. Because this is not about the cats; it's about people who desperately want a job as a "rescue ranger".