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Although they’re very good at staying under the radar, feral cat populations live in virtually every human community on earth. As long as our pet cats remain unaltered and are allowed to roam their neighborhoods freely, they can and will reproduce and create feral cat colonies, especially near reliable food sources.
Recent research from the University of Queensland sheds light on Australia’s particularly worrisome feral cat problem. How bad is it? Researchers report that feral cats live on 99.8% of Australia’s land, including islands and protected conservation areas, where endangered native species are vulnerable to non-native predators. The total number of feral cats in Australia varies depending on how plentiful food sources are…ranging from around 2 million in hard times to 6 million when rain increases prey populations.
Australia does not have an especially dense feral cat population in comparison to other countries, but what makes the Australian problem unique is that much of its iconic native wildlife has evolved without the presence of hunters like cats, placing many native species at high risk for predation. According to the researchers, feral cats have been responsible for the extinction of 20 Australian mammals.
What does all this mean for the feral cats of Australia? Unfortunately, many conservationists and government officials are in favor of a “humane and effective cull” to reduce the total feral cat population. As you can imagine, many animal rights advocates are concerned about this. To learn more about how you can get involved in helping the cats of Australia, check out the Action Center on the Alley Cat Allies website. You can learn more about the feral cat issue (including humane alternatives to extermination) and also sign a pledge opposing the killing of feral cats in Australia.
If you want to learn more about animals in Australia, here is an article about their native koalas.
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