Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Feral Cats Threaten Endangered Species


Feral Cats Threaten Endangered Species

There are some 15 million cats in Florida that spend all or part of their time outside preying on wildlife. It is estimated that cats kill as many as 271 million small mammals and 68 million birds each year in Florida, many of these members of threatened and endangered species.

As an alternative to euthanasia, many cat advocates believe in trap-neuter-release, or TNR, programs, in which feral cats are spayed or neutered and returned to colonies where caretakers look after them. While the programs aim to reduce wild cat populations, however, irresponsible pet owners continue to release unwanted cats that often join feral cat colonies.

In Florida, such colonies are known to exist in 17 counties. The largest, in Key Largo, may include as many as 1,000 cats and operates on an annual budget of $100,000. TNR programs and managing large numbers of cats in colonies do not effectively control cat overpopulation or the predation of endangered animals, the study found.

No comments: