We all hear silly news every day, and while this might sound silly at first, it’s actually as serious as anything can get. Recently, we’ve heard news of a philanthropist couple that has truly waged war on cats. That couple is Andrew and Jane Clifford, and the war they’ve waged is in the form of a $1 million donation. This donation has been given to create as much cat-free spaces as possible. You may wonder why anyone would ever want to be cat-free, but there’s a particular type of cat that’s been doing more damage than good in a global sense—feral cats.
It turns out that feral cats are more dangerous than we all realize. Feral cats have become rampant and uncontrolled in many acute areas throughout the world, particularly in Australia. Many locales have become breeding grounds for feral cats without any laws or practices in place to keep them controlled. Feral cats are responsible for the lives of much wildlife each year, and it’s something that has gone unnoticed in the past. More and more people are slowly becoming aware of this issue; however, it still doesn’t get nearly enough attention. There have been reports of cat rehab efforts in Japan aimed to help feral cats tame their wild side. For the last 15 years, the overflowing population of feral cats has been troubling Japan. The Tokyo Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA) are doing what they can to collect these cats one by one to keep them off of the streets and into rehabilitation.
It’s certainly a mighty effort, and it’s something that has inspired the Australian Wildlife Conservancy to pursue. Australia is experiencing much of the same issues regarding feral cats. In Australia, these cats are responsible for the lives of roughly 2,000 native animals each minute. That’s an alarming rate that’s quite impossible to ignore. Even more, feral cats have been estimated to kill more than a million birds and more than a million reptiles every single day. In addition, feral cats are also responsible for the deaths of more than a million Australian mammals each and every single day. You can imagine just how many feral cats there must actually be for them to attain this number of kills every day. It’s disturbingly a profound amount that begs to be noticed, and finally, governments and organizations are paying attention to the fact that feral cats have become a force to be reckoned with.
The Australian Wildlife Conservancy has come up with three main areas to focus on and tackle when dealing with the problem of feral cats. The first is to establish a national network of feral cat-free areas. It’s obviously going to take some time to get the feral cats under control, so giving other animals a fighting chance at normal survival is of paramount importance. The next step is to develop and implement a way to control the feral cat population. There are obviously an incredible number of them already at loose, and if Australia were to implement Japan’s method of rehabilitation, it would take years to get every single feral cat rehabilitated. There has to be a better solution, and the conservancy is on its way to figure that out. The last area of focus is in the investigation of gene drive technology that will eventually breed feral cats completely out of existence. That’s the ultimate goal, and it’s something that will take decades to achieve.
The Cliffords are looking for their $1 million donation to go towards the first area of focus that the Australian Wildlife Conservancy has established. The $1 million will be used to increase the size of the world’s largest cat-free sanctuary. The existing sanctuary currently measures 58 square miles, and the plan is to expand this to roughly measure 435 square miles of sanctuary. There will be fencing around this sanctuary to keep feral cats out while the wildlife conservancy is at work on the other two areas of focus. Conservationists are also hoping to reintroduce endangered marsupial species slowly and methodically into the sanctuary to help them grow their population numbers again without the interference from feral cats. All these plans in place should give all the other animals a fighting chance, and eventually, feral cats will become a thing of the past.