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Feral cats are driving some birds to the brink of extinction

Feral cats are driving some birds to the brink of extinction”

A contemporary study by researchers at National Institution in Canberra - Australian National University and Public institute in Australia - Charles Darwin University has affirmed that 377 million birds killed yearly across the country. "It is likely to be driving the ongoing decline of many species". Another set of nearly 100 studies assessed feline diet.

Drawing on data from previous studies, researchers found cats kill off around four per cent of the annual bird population, which is estimated to be at about 11 million nationally.

There was evidence of cats killing 338 types of bird, almost half of all the native species in Australia.

The highest rates of cat predation is on Australia's islands and in remote, arid areas Down Under, where the number of birds killed by cats annually can reach 330 birds per square kilometer. Among them were 71 threatened species including the spotted quail thrush, the squatter pigeon, and the night parrot. "This new research emphasizes the need to continue working to reduce the impact of cats on our native biodiversity".

Under the government's Threatened Species Strategy, more than 30 million Australian dollars ($23 million) has been mobilized for projects to reduce the impact of feral cats on wildlife.

It was the first study to look at the nationwide impact cats were having on Australia's birds, Legge said.

Sebastian Lang, Australia's acting threatened species commissioner, called for people to spay their cats and keep them indoors to help solve the problem.

Australia began construction in June on a 69,000 hectare cat-free zone in the desert where animals whose populations have been decimated by felines can be safely reintroduced.



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