Science

Feral Cats In Australia Have Almost Taken Over

By Rodney Rafols , Jan 11, 2017 02:26 AM EST
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Cats roam much more freely than dogs. Unlike dogs which many see to have potential health risks, not too many people are concerned about feral cats. Now feral cats in Australia have almost taken over. Feral cats are almost found everywhere in Australia. This has been the conclusion made by a recent study. The study has found that feral cats are in 99.8 percent present in all of Australia. This would include the islands that are part of Australia.

Many might see feral cats as harmless, but they can actually cause much damage. Wildlife can be threatened by feral cats. Small animals in particular could be prey to these cats. Many species native to Australia are vulnerable since they have not dealt with a predator like the feral cat. The impact feral cats have to the environment is still being determined.

A study made by 40 environmental researchers have documented at least 2.1 million feral cats in areas that have less prey. In areas that have more prey though, the number of feral cats can rise to as much as 6.3 million. Feral cats, like its larger cousins, thrive on prey.

Feral cats aren't native to Australia. Cats first came to Australia in the 18th century, according to Fox News. Many of them have been stowaways on ships. They don't have much competition in the new land they're in, and have much prey to thrive on. Feral cats are said to be the reason why some of Australia's mammals have become extinct, such as the big-eared hopping mouse and the Eastern hare-wallaby.

Gregory Andrews, the Australian Threatened Species Commissioner, said that Australia is the only continent aside from Antarctica where no cats have evolved, that is why many of the animals in Australia have no natural defense against the predators. Animal rights groups though are opposed to plans of lessening feral cat numbers, as Atlas Obscura reports.

Scientists are trying to find where many feral cats congregate. Together with conservationists, they are looking for ways on how to control the situation and preserve natural wildlife. While that is being developed, feral cats in Australia have almost taken over entirely. In another report, SeaWorld San Diego is closing down its Orca shows.

 

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