DoE ramps up feral cats campaign

| 08/10/2021 | 152 Comments
Green parrot killed by a feral cat (photo from DoE social media)

(CNS) Feral cats are causing irreversible damage to critically endangered native animal populations across all three Cayman Islands. As a result, the Department of Environment is ramping up its education campaign on social media, making the case for a humane cull. The experts say the cats cannot be allowed to continue to roam freely and the issue will not go away unless something is done.

“It’s up to us,” a spokesperson for the DoE said this week as the department explained in a series of posts on social media why feral cats cannot coexist in Cayman’s fragile island ecosystem without catastrophic damage.

DoE Terrestrial Resources Unit Director Fred Burton recently explained to CNS the legal issues that have prevented the department from carrying out a cull. While no one wants to kill animals, invasive species such as feral cats and green iguanas are presenting a crisis to the native and indigenous birds and reptiles.

“Every day lost to delay is measurable in predation events where cats kill rock iguana young, birds, curly-tail lizards, and even boobies,” he said.

Every year roaming cats kill many critically endangered native blue and rock iguanas, and even domestic cats pose an enormous threat to precious native species.

According to the DoE, a feral cat hunting at night recently attacked a green parrot while it was resting in a tree. “A helpful human separated them as they fell to the ground but the parrot was already lethally injured and died soon afterward,” the department said in a Facebook post.

In another they said that an endangered baby blue iguana was fatally attacked by a free roaming, well fed domestic cat this month.

With the combination of feral and free roaming domestic cat populations reaching the thousands, most of Cayman’s endangered wild blue and rock iguana babies will not survive their first year.

The main problem with cats is their strong instinct to hunt, regardless of whether or not they are hungry, and they kill more prey than they can eat.

“They’ve already forced many species into extinction worldwide,” the DoE said. “We must protect our precious endemic wildlife from the same fate. Cats are smart. Some people believe feeding feral cats will keep them from hunting but in reality, human feeding gives them more energy to hunt. They also carry several diseases which can easily spread to both pets and humans.”

The DoE are continuing the battle to begin a humane cull because, as they have explained on many occasions, trapping and neutering is not a suitable solution for the feral cats in Cayman for a number of reasons, not least because there are so many, especially on the Sister Islands. Even if they could catch, neuter and release every cat, they would drive many indigenous specious to extinction before they died out.

Watch DoE video of baby blue iguana killed by a well fed domestic cat here.

Find more info and all DoE flyers on feral cats in the CNS Library.

Go to the DoE Facebook page.

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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (152)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    So many on here advocating to murder other animals over word of mouth. You all are pathetic pcychopaths with no reason to kill any cats.

    • Anonymous says:

      ummm there are very good reasons to kill cats – there is no reason at all that we should be prioritizing the lives of a feral cat that has a miserable existence over an endangered animal native to the Cayman Islands.

      • Anonymous says:

        Killing animals is a psychopathic trait. Species go extinct all the time and it’s been happening before humans even existed. Are we responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs too?
        So sick of you pseudo-environmentalists. If you have to resort to killing innocent animals then you have already lost.

        • Voice of reason says:

          If they were feral rats, would that make a big difference ? Sometimes nature’s got to be nasty.

          • Anonymous says:

            Yes, nature can be nasty. So stop inferring with it. Let the indigenous species die with dignity just as nature intended. Why do humans feel the need to control nature and save something that didn’t ask to be saved?
            Extinction is a natural part of our planet’s evolutionary history and has been happening for literally billions of years. Of all the species that have existed on Earth, 99% are now extinct.
            What do you think gives you the right to kill a sentient animal that millions of people around the world have as pets? Just to save some birds? Killing one animal to save another just shows how disingenuous you really are. Give me a break, you don’t care about animals or anyone but yourselves.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I spoke to a rep at CARE about feral cats in my neighbourhood and discovered that feral cats pose a more difficult problem to limit than dogs, for the following reasons:

    harder to catch;
    almost impossible to tame, so as to be adopted;
    seemingly, not as many adopters for cats.

    So, if feral cats were to be captured by any animal rescue org. the very best that can be done is that they’re neutered and re-released (they would still remain a threat to wildlife) or euthanized. Under the circumstances, I would support the culling.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wild fowl too please!

  4. Anonymous says:

    “I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure.”
    – Agent Smith, The Matrix

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