It seems as though every week there is a new animal threatening the lives of residents in Australia, or threatening the stability of the ecosystem in the small country. There is a new threat in Australia that officials have sworn to drastically reduce the population of by 2020, and you may be familiar with this species. The feline population has grown out of control, and government officials in Australia have pledged to take action in order to reduce the number of cats there by as much as 2 million by the year 2020.
Is there no better solution than to merciless kill 2 million feral cats?
At the advanced stage of destruction that Australia has seen at the hands of feral cats, experts see no other solution that to kill off most of the wild cats in the country. Although they may be cute and seem harmless, the wild cats threaten a massive number of Australian species according to reports by the Australian Department of the Environment, “Feral cats threaten the survival of over 100 native species in Australia.”
The cats have been implicated in most of the recent major extinctions in the land down under in the last decade. According to Gregory Andrews Australia’s Threatened Species Commissioner, “Of the 29 mammals that we’ve lost to extinction, feral cats are implicated in 28 out of those 29 extinctions, and over 120 Australian animals are at risk of extinction from feral cats.”
In addition to intentionally hunting and killing numerous species in Australia, the cats have the potential to inadvertently cause damage to humans and wildlife according to the Australian Department of the Environment, “Feral cats can carry infectious diseases which can be transmitted to native animals, domestic livestock and humans.”
How did things get so bad in the first place?
Left unchecked, the cat population has grown to absurd proportions endangering a majority of the small wildlife in Australia. Part of the reason that they were able to breed to such large numbers is the ability the animals have to live in most Australian environments, “They are found all over Australia in all habitats, including forests, woodlands, grasslands, wetlands and arid areas.” It can be nearly impossible to get rid of a creature that can live nearly anywhere, because they can hide in places high and low where many other species have no hope of survival.
The plan going forward to eliminate the felines in Australia
There is a stringent plan in place laid out by the government, to get rid of the cats over a period of five years. A task force is being established in order to ensure the humane, and expedited extermination of the feral cats in Australia, “The taskforce will bring together government officials and key stake holders to ensure effective implementation, monitoring and reporting on progress towards the goals of the threat abatement plan and targets related to feral cat predation.”
These wild cats in Australia are one of the greatest environmental threats that the country has ever seen, and while plans are in place to kill off a majority of the feral cats in Australia, the question that remains on the lips of conservationists has to be is this too little, too late considering the species that have already gone extinct?