“They kill billions of animals”

Cats kill a large number of animals in Australia every year. To stop the extermination, the Canberra authorities have introduced new rules for homeowners.

In Australia, cats and foxes are responsible for killing over 2.6 billion wild animals each year, an impressive number with devastating effects on biodiversity. Red foxes and small cats are not native species, but were introduced to “kangaroo country” by European settlers over the past centuries and have bred to excess. Feral cats have been responsible for the extinction of at least twenty species of native small mammals since their introduction, and more than 120 are now threatened with extinction, according to the Australian government document Feral Cat Control and Impact – Frequently Asked Questions.

There are an estimated 2.8 million “feral cats” (stray and feral cats) and 6.6 million so-called pets in Australia, which together kill 466 million reptiles, 265 million birds and 815 million small mammals each year. These are calculations from a new study, “Body Counting: Estimating the Number and Spatial Variability of Australian Reptiles, Birds and Mammals Killed by Two Invasive Mesopardians,” by scientists at the Environment and Human Resources Research Institute. University. Not without reason, cats are among the 100 most invasive species on the planet in the list of “100 most invasive alien species in the world – a selection from the global database of invasive species.”

Credit: The Conversation / Stobo – Wilson et al., Diversity and Distribution.

Due to environmental disasters, for which they are responsible not through their own fault, but through the fault of the one who brought them to territories where they should not be, scientific organizations and administrations began to take measures, sometimes even drastic ones, to curb their spread. To avoid the carnage while protecting local wildlife, several Australian municipalities have begun imposing true curfews on cats, which in some cases extend all day long. In simple terms, owners of small cats are obliged to keep them closed around the perimeter of the house in order to prevent their bloody raids in the wild.

Canberra has drafted a new law called ‘Cat Containment’ which will see sweeping changes to cat management from 1 July this year. “Owning a cat is fun and rewarding, but it comes with responsibility,” reads an informative article about the new law. Cats will essentially no longer be able to leave private homes unless they are accompanied by a leash, as is the case with dogs. Those who don’t restrain their cat risk a $300 to $1,600 fine. In the event that the authorities catch the cat during the escape, a $120 fee is expected in Bendigo to “pick it up”. Parts of Australia have had cat containment measures in place for some time, such as nighttime curfews (cats have been known to kill more between sunset and sunrise). In Fremantle, Western Australia, cats will be completely banned from public places.

It may seem excessive, but 7 million wild animals killed every day is too high a price, and extinction is forever. “It’s about protecting our wildlife and also helping to protect human cats from cat fights or car collisions,” Fremantle Council member Adeen Lang told ABC. . “This means that if rangers encounter cats on the sidewalks or on the streets, the owner can be fined, just like a dog owner whose dog is not kept on a leash,” Lang added. cats are a big deal,” echoed zoologist John Reed. “Keeping cats locked up helps prevent environmental and health impacts, and also prevents them from going outside and having more feral cats,” he said.

Experts recommend keeping cats at home even in Italy, where they prey on more than 200 species of wild animals. After all, a domestic cat is not an animal that exists in the wild (it was bred from a wild cat millennia ago) and, if introduced, can cause serious damage to the environment, ecological balance and biodiversity.

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