July 12, 2024

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Curfews, stays indoors and restrictions: Australia ‘declares war’ on the cat problem |  outside

Curfews, stays indoors and restrictions: Australia ‘declares war’ on the cat problem | outside

Australia has been struggling for decades with large numbers of feral cats, which appear to be the most aggressive species in the country. Now the state wants to force cats to stay indoors or impose a curfew on them because they kill so many other animals.


The New York Times, Insider, and The Sydney Morning Herald

A new report released by the United Nations this week shows that invasive species, which are animals not found naturally in a country, are the biggest causes of biodiversity loss in Australia. Feral cats are nature’s most aggressive, killing an estimated two billion animals each year, according to Australian Environment Minister Tanya Plibersk.

This week the Australian government announced that it is “declaring war” on these invasive cats by releasing a draft action plan that includes measures such as creating programs for recreational hunters to shoot feral cats and euthanizing some cats in the wild.

Australian Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek. © Facebook / Tanya Plibersek

Australia has long battled the feral cat problem and has tried several measures in the past with programs to hunt, shoot and poison them. However, interest has shifted to domestic cats only in recent years. Sarah Legge, a professor at the Australian National University, told the New York Times that the effects of domestic and feral cats “bleed into each other”. “Pets can become stray cats and stray cats can become stray cats. They can also go the other way.”

Legge’s research found that a single domestic cat kills, on average, about 186 mammals, birds, reptiles and frogs annually, compared to 748 animals that can be killed by a single feral cat. However, because domestic cats are found in greater numbers in the suburbs, the total number of animals they kill per hectare in the suburbs is higher than the number killed by feral cats in the forest.

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Curfews, stay at home and restrictions

To protect the country’s biodiversity, the government is looking into solutions to the cat problem, according to The New York Times. The government’s new proposal now also focuses on domestic cats for the first time. The government is considering imposing cat curfews, stay-at-home orders and limiting the number of cats that households can own.

These ideas for cat population control are not entirely new. Many local governments in Australia already rely on these types of regulations to protect their ecosystems. The proposal would unify the rules and give local governments more power to expand them as needed. The Australian public appears to be largely supportive of these measures.

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