The Australian government has announced a new plan to protect wildlife by killing two million feral cats by the year 2020.
The plan calls for baiting, shooting and poisoning the cats, along with setting up "safe havens" for dozens of the most at-risk kinds of mammal, bird and plant species.
"Over 120 [kinds of] Australian animals are at risk of extinction from feral cats," Gregory Andrews, Australia's first threatened-species commissioner, explained, adding that although "we don't hate cats," we must declare "war" on them.
Will killing the cats actually save these other animals? Many mainstream conservation groups say yes, but some of the most knowledgeable wildlife experts say it can only make the situation worse. Here's why.
In Northern Australia, feral cats are growing enormous – more than three feet long – and consuming much of the indigenous wildlife.
Now the federal government is taking action to save the wildlife by killing as many cats as possible.
Will it work? Probably not. But neither, frankly, will a trap/neuter/return program. After all, we’re talking about what’s become essentially a new species of wildlife, fully integrated into the “bush”.
A new study makes the powerful case that cats who are left to roam out of doors are doing enormous damage to wildlife. Cat lovers and cat protection groups can howl and claw back as much as they like, but the fact is we've all known for a long time that felis silvestris catus is a natural born killer.
It's been something of a feud between cat people and bird people: the question of how much damage our cats are doing to the bird population.
The American Bird Conservancy has long argued that cats – feral cats in particular – are wiping out whole populations of birds. Cat people have fought back, saying that feral cats rarely have birds on their menu, that killing off the cats doesn't work, and that any damage to birds is being done largely by pet cats.
Dozens of cats and kittens have been living the good life at the Belle Glade state prison in Pam Beach County, Florida. But the prison is closing down.
Feral cat caregiver Sherman Mohler took this video of one of her charges as she returned the kitty to her colony mates after taking her to the vet to be spayed.
Study says housecats stake out a territory that can cover five acres or more. And feral cats can have a much larger range – more than 370 acres in some cases.