This is described as a cutting-edge program to kill feral cats in Australia. You put a machine, the ‘Felixer’, on the ground in a well selected site and it squirts a specific amount of a poison (1080) onto the cat’s fur. The cat licks it off and dies. Voilà, job done. I presume cats are attracted to the device because how else would they get close enough to be squirted with poison. They don’t explain that part of the program. Perhaps a visitor can assist. And how do they prevent other animals being similarly attracted?
It is a progression in the Australian authorities war against the dreaded feral cat. We are told that the poison used is suitable because native animals have developed a tolerance to it.
The idea therefore is that only feral cats will die. I think that this is a bit optimistic, don’t you?
So what if a marsupial such as a pademelon was poisoned by the Felixer and died and a dog ate the carcass? It might be a wandering pet dog. The Tasmanian government’s Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment say that if a dog ate a pademelon poisoned with 1080 it could ingest a lethal dose. In fact there would be enough 1080 in one dead pademelon to kill 12 dogs! They say that other animals and birds are not likely to be killed under these circumstances. Note the ‘not likely’ condition. It is not certain and so birds and other native species could die which would invalidate the program. And what about domestic cats?
I would have thought that if one dog or cat died belonging to a citizen of Australia that too would invalidate the program. You couldn’t have the government killing people’s pets willy nilly. It would be unacceptable.
I am not sure therefore how the program can be described as cutting edge. Dogs as less tolerant to 1080 than cats by a factor of 6. Humans are more tolerant than dogs by a factor of 40. Cattle an deer are slightly more tolerant than dogs.
Overall it seems to be that the Felixer might be too indiscriminate and presents a danger to other animals particularly pet dogs. Can someone tell me why the authorities find this cutting edge program workable?
The trial is reported in the North West Telegraph under “Toxic lick to feral cats“. The trial is being conducted in Pilbara. The device is called a ‘feline specific toxic device’. I presume they place the Felixer in places where dogs are highly unlikely to be seen. But how certain is it?
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