CVMA, Maddie’s Fund fix ferals

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2000:

ALAMEDA, Calif.––The 830 veterinarians participating in the California Veterinary Medical Association Feral Cat Altering Program reached their first-year goal of 20,000 feral cats fixed beyond previous levels three months early ––so Maddie’s Fund, sponsoring the projected three-year program with $3.2 million, announced that it will commit further funding to sustain the momentum.

Maddie’s Fund originally hoped the CVMA vets would fix 60,000 feral cats beyond previous levels, executive director Richard Avanzino told ANIMAL PEOPLE. The new three-year-goal is to fix 100,000.

The CVMA program fixes feral cats without charge to participating cat rescuers. Maddie’s Fund pays the vets $50 per cat fixed.

Word of the CVMA success and the increased Maddie’s Fund commitment came as the American Bird Conservancy stepped up anti-feral cat pressure nationwide and Golden Gate Audubon Society president Alan Hopkins renewed a campaign he has waged since 1993 to extirpate feral cats and wild raccoons from Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, in hopes of saving the last 12 resident California quail. As many as 1,200 quail lived in the park before undergrowth was cleared out to discourage homeless people from camping among the shrubbery.

Hopkins claims the quail are descended from native quail who were noted in the vicinity by the first Spanish explorers. The San Francisco SPCA contends, based on a 1993 study by ecologist Robert Berg, that the quail were mostly hatched and released as part of local school science projects during the 1970s and 1980s.

Cats vs. birds

The American Bird Conservancy cited an 18-month study by Wichita State University graduate student Carol Fiore, who estimated from fecal samples that free-roaming urban pet cats kill 4.2 birds apiece per year. But Fiore’s estimate that they collectively kill 269 million birds per year was compromised because she counted the entire owned cat population as free-roaming. Most studies indicate––with regional variations––that about two-thirds of urban cat owners keep their cats indoors.

By comparison, University of Pennsylvania researcher Daniel Klem estimates that about 100 million birds per year die in collisions with window glass. About four million birds per year die in collisions with cellular telephone transmission towers.

The Dr. Splatt and Strah Poll roadkill counts indicate that about 11 million to 18 million birds whose remains are big enough to be seen from a car and/or cause a road hazard are roadkilled by cars each year. Guesstimating the numbers of small birds and birds whose remains fall off the roadway suggests that the actual automobile toll on birds is anywhere from 10 to 100 times higher.

Hunters shoot at least 74.4 million wild birds per year, including about 35 million mourning doves.

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