Cat-atrop ?: Australia plans to kill two million cats Every day .
Every day we see viral videos on the Internet of those funny felines doing theirs. They have millions of ‘likes’. And is that cats are adorable. But in Australia, the vast majority do not agree and for four years they have declared war on a population of feral cats estimated to kill one million native birds and 1.7 million reptiles each day in that country.
According to official reports, since their arrival in Australian territory, brought by European settlers probably in the seventeenth century, wild cats have been the main responsible for the extinction of at least 20 mammals. Since then, these felines have spread throughout practically the entire territory of the island and nowadays they make up a wild population of between 2 and 6 million.
Faced with this situation, the Australian government plans to eliminate 2 million of these animals by 2020. But this is not a new measure, it was announced since 2015, in conjunction with a community plan of five million dollars to carry it out. At that time, the criticism rained down on him.
Read here (in English) the report of the Australian government where the measure justifies.
Celebrities such as the French actress Brigitte Bardot or the British singer Morrissey sent open letters to the Australian authorities saying that the plan was scandalous, or that “the stupidity had gone too far”. Especially to them was the commissioner of threatened species Gregory Andrews, explaining that it was an essential action to protect native wildlife since cats endanger 120 local species.
Four years later, the plan is still running but the news leaped again these days when the new strategy of throwing poisoned sausages from a plane to the areas of Australia most densely populated by wild cats was published.
The sausages, which taste delicious for cats, have a deadly ingredient that kills them in 15 minutes.
This initiative also has great detractors and has been denounced as “cruel” by animal protection organizations, which fear for the health of others who may eat the same poisoned food. In fact, despite being this crusade against wild cats a conservation effort, lately several prominent conservationists reject the feline genocide as it is being raised.
Conservation ecologist at Deakin University in Australia, Tim Doherti, told CNN that the plan is based on an unstable science, and that it only helps if the cats already lived in an area where they threatened native species.
“When the goal was established in 2015, we did not really know how many cats there were in Australia,” the expert confessed, adding that at that time it was estimated to be about 18 million, which, he says, “is far above the real.”
But feral cats are considered the main invasive species of Australia and their elimination has become the number one priority of the country’s authorities.
In some places the slaughter of cats has become not only a crusade but, even, in a business. Such is the case of the people of Banana Shire, belonging to the state of Queensland, Australia, where they offer a reward of seven dollars for each scalp of wild cat, which has been denounced as “cruelty” by the Association of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which, however, have come to recognize, according to the New York Times, that wild cats hunt wild animals “to a point where some species can no longer survive.”
In the midst of the crusade, and only one year from the expected date, there should be two million dead cats, some experts say that the government prioritizes the issue of cats over other issues of greater political sensitivity, related to human overexploitation.
For Tim Doherti “there is a possibility that cats are being used as a distraction, to some extent” and added that “we also need to have a more holistic approach and identify all threats to biodiversity.”