Feral cats

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1997:

The British-based Mammal
Society on April 2 published findings that
a rising population of free-roaming cats
seems to coincide with a decline in the
numbers of barn owls, stoats, and
weasels, but which event is cause and
which effect remains hazy. Trying to
quantify feline killing habits, the authors
reported that Siamese cats hunt most
aggressively, while the white cats in the
study apparently didn’t hunt at all.
The East Bay Regional Park
District board, managing numerous
semi-wild recreation areas in the hills to
the eastern side of San Francisco Bay,
agreed on April 2 to study their feral cat
situation for 18 months before proceeding
with further lethal removal. When cats
are removed, Rick DelVecchio of the San
Francisco Chronicle reported, “park
rangers will work with animal rescue

groups to find homes for them.” Late last
year, the EBRPD hired an Animal
Damage Control representative to trap and
kill 17 cats, and shoot 14 more, while trying
to exterminate feral red foxes. The
object of the killing––undertaken quietly––was
to protect endangered shore birds.
The outcome, as it became known, was
public outrage.
A similar conflict between conservation
plans calling for an emphasis
on native plants and animals and humanitarian
concern is underway at the Annie
Bidwell park in central Chico, California.
Terms of the Bidwell bequest, raised by
Bob Plumb of the Progressive Animal
Welfare Society, stipulate that no hunting
on the property is ever to be permitted,
except that the management shall be
allowed to remove “any of such animals or
birds as may be of noxious nature or
habits.” Under the dictionary definitions
commonly used when the will was written,
shortly after 1900, cats would probably
not have been considered “noxious,” but
local representatives of the National
Audubon Society maintain that they are
noxious today, and must be exterminated.
New Zealand started an experimental
cat-poisoning campaign on April
12, targeting a feral colony of about 50
cats near Morrinsville, Waikato––but as
word leaked out that poisoned cats woud
take anywhere from four to 10 days to die,
the Waikato Cats Protection League reluctantly
stepped in with a plan to capture,
fix, and vaccinate them. The cats are considered
a serious threat to native bird lif

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