Source Newsroom: Cornell University
Ken Rosenberg, a conservation scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and John Fitzpatrick, director of the Cornell Lab, comment on the devastating impact feral and domestic cats have on native birds and other animal populations in light of a groundbreaking study released this week by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“What makes this new and different is that, in the emotional debate that’s been going on for years, there hasn’t been very much sound science behind it. We in the bird community have always known that cat-bird mortality was high but the numbers this study produced were mind boggling – way higher than anyone would have guessed.”
“The people involved in this study are of the highest scientific integrity and they went into this very objectively. The science is very clear and unequivocal on this topic, and it is time for action. It’s time for all the groups to sit down and come up with some solutions.”
“The bulk of the killing is being done by feral, non-owned cats. The incredible proliferation of trap-neuter-return programs has produced cat colonies on public lands, fed by volunteers and sanctioned by municipalities. Instead of the animals dying off, people are dropping off more cats and the colonies are ballooning.”
“This study is not part of cat-hating campaign. I love my cats. I know for a fact that some of the authors of these studies have cats and love their cats. It’s not about hating cats. It’s about the inappropriateness of cats having freedom to roam and policies that support the proliferation of top predators on public lands that are wreaking havoc on our native wildlife. Trap-neuter-return colonies are a recent and increasing phenomenon and it’s just now being recognized with this science how much of an impact they are having on birds and wildlife.”
“Outdoor cats kill birds – it's their instinct. Please stop any and all support for feral cat colonies. These are subsidized recreational killers, and we now have a clear understanding of the scale of carnage they bring to our wild bird communities. Please also keep pet cats indoors. Even your own cute tabby is a mortal danger to birds.”
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