Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cats tagged in bird killing study

Scientists in Berkshire are tagging 200 cats to find out if the UK's pet felines are responsible for killing an estimated 92 million animals a year.
"For the first time, pet cats will be fitted with data loggers attached to a harness which will log their every movement and allow us to identify actions which have distinctive signatures such as eating, drinking and hunting.

"Correlating these data with the actual prey returned will give us a good idea of predation rates in urban areas."

Species most affected are blackbirds, robins, sparrows and other ground feeding birds, as well as wood mice, bank voles and shrews.

In a second phase of the study, researchers will look at bird densities in urban areas to see whether declining populations match high cat densities.

A survey of more than 600 cat owners carried out in 1997 estimated that British felines kill 92 million animals a year.

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