This country is losing wildlife: Are cats to blame?
Are New Zealand domestic cats destroying native wildlife? Calls to organize it are growing in the southwestern Pacific nation.
New Zealand – Are New Zealand domestic cats destroying native wildlife? Calls to regulate domestic tigers are growing in the southwestern Pacific nation.
With 1.4 million domestic cats, New Zealand has one of the highest rates of ownership in the world – at least 40 percent of all households have at least one four-legged friend. In addition, according to estimates, there are millions of wild cats.
The conservation group Forest and Bird cares about numbers guardians mentioned.
Animal rights activists fear that more and more native species are falling victim to cats – introduced by humans to New Zealand.
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The disaster on Stevens Island – a small island sandwiched between two large main islands – is said to have taken its course as early as the end of the 19th century. At that time, the lighthouse keeper’s cat completely wiped out the flightless wren.
Today, the kea, also known as the mountain parrot, is particularly endangered. The little bird is easy prey for cats and is now considered an endangered species. Even the famous kiwi, which is at home in the forests of New Zealand, has nothing to oppose to four-legged predators.
But New Zealand society is divided: cat owners in particular see the problem not with their domestic cats, but with wild cats. On the other hand, animal rights activists are demanding clear rules regarding invasive house cats, such as a nighttime curfew for all domestic cats and a maximum of two cats per household.
“We are committed to responsible cat ownership and want to educate people about the impact of cats on native New Zealand species,” says expert Jesse Morgan of Predator Free New Zealand. “We think it’s important for people to keep their cats at home, get them microchipped, and spay them where possible.”
However, it does not appear that an agreement between the conflicting parties is in sight at the moment. Therefore, the cat has a very high position among many New Zealanders.
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