Saturday, May 30, 2015

What's so humane about TNVR of cats?

The Post editorial board is rethinking the wisdom of this effort (Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, Release [TNVR]). Cats are an invasive species here in Florida and are devastating to the bird populations. In south Florida many species of birds have adapted to living closer to the ground (or even underground nests) and easy to hunt by cats. Extermination of the feral cat population is the answer to save these species, however even the Sierra Club sees this as politically impossible given the strength and numbers of the various cat lobbies. The answer is to keep cats indoors at all times.

As far as feral cats a writer from the Audubon Society came up with a new use for Tylenol. The reaction to this suggestion was quick and not pretty at all. Here is an excerpt from LiveScience on the devastation cats are believed to cause:
     Marra [Pete Marra, animal ecologist with Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute] and his colleagues are looking at human-related causes for bird and wildlife deaths in the country, from windmills and glass windows to pesticides.
     But first, Marra and his team looked at the
impact of the feline population, one of the biggest putative causes of bird demise in the country. [emphasis added]
     While past studies had used critter cams or owner reports to estimate the number of birds killed by cats, those studies were usually small and not applicable to the entire country, Marra told LiveScience.
     For this broader analysis, the team first looked at all prior studies on bird deaths and
estimated that around 84 million owned-cats live in the country, many of which are allowed outdoors.
     "A lot of these cats may go outside and go to 10 different houses, but they go back to their house and cuddle up on Mr. Smith's lap at night," Marra said.
     Based on an analysis of past studies, the researchers
estimated that each of those felines killed between four and 18 birds a year, and between eight and 21 small mammals per year.
     But the major scourges for wildlife were not those free-ranging, owned-cats, but instead feral and un-owned cats that survive on the streets. Each of those kitties — and the team estimates between 30 million and 80 million of them live in the United States — kills between 23 and 46 birds a year, and between 129 and 338 small mammals, Marra said.
The Florida Scrub Jay, only one species of bird whose numbers are dwindling.