Friday, March 2, 2007

What wildlife do feral cat colonies threaten in Florida?

Q: I live in Surfside, and I've grown to love and appreciate the small, controlled feral cat community on the beach. We have a conscientious organization that has trapped and neutered the entire cat population. There aren't any endangered species around this beach area that might be threatened by the cats, are there? Thanks -- Barbara

(Editorial comment: DOH!)

A: You've likely heard about the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) new policy on feral cats, including trap/neuter/release (TNR) cat colonies such as the one near your home north of Miami Beach. Recognizing that feral cats harm Florida's native wildlife, the FWC is looking to "manage" such colonies with local governments.

Your question is about endangered species, but in reality, the concern is for all wildlife. As you know, cats are predators, and it's their instinct to hunt just about anything that moves, whether or not they are hungry. Groups everywhere have come to realize that bird populations are in danger of predation by cats, even those that are in their own backyards.

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