HomeFeral CatspredationContextualizing the predation of reptiles by cats in Australia

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Contextualizing the predation of reptiles by cats in Australia — 43 Comments

  1. You failed to highlight (and/or ‘bold’) the most important sentence:

    “Conclusions: CAT PREDATION EXERTS A CONSIDERABLE ONGOING TOLL ON AUSTRALIAN REPTILES.”

    1.8 million reptiles a day taken from 25% of described Australian species is indeed a CONSIDERABLE TOLL. That is the summarized quantitative data from the study. I maintain this is NOT a sustainable toll. I base this on my likewise CONSIDERABLE background in animal population dynamics/distribution science, including nearly four decades of field research on species ranging from Japanese beetles to marine ichthyoplankton to endangered Ambystomatid salamanders to Sceloporine lizards. Please outline your own experiences in the natural sciences.

    Recall the authors also said “(t)here is now SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE THAT CATS ARE A PRIMARY CAUSE OF THE ONGOING DECLINE OF SOME THREATENED AUSTRALIAN REPTILE SPECIES, such as the great desert skink.” Another one you skipped when using your “highlighting pen.”

    “However, it remains challenging to interpret the impact of this predation in terms of population viability or conservation concern for Australian reptiles, because population size is unknown for most Australian reptile species, mortality rates due to cats will vary across reptile species and because there is likely to be marked variation among reptile species in their capability to sustain any particular predation rate.”

    These caveats are right and proper. The authors identify the “unknowns” which must be addressed to more comprehensively determine the destruction cats inflict on Australian reptiles. You can’t accurately learn the extent of a problem without first understanding and acknowledging what you don’t know (this is a part of what is called the “scientific method”). In this case I’d bet my next retirement check the actual damage is far worse than what’s so far been quantified and described. The interior of Australia (and some of the northern coast) is little explored. Australia has more reptile species than any other country–new ones are regularly discovered and described, and all are unique in that they evolved in the near-absence of predatory placental mammals until feral Englishmen arrived and began tearing up the place. But no matter how much you want it to, said caveats NOT mean that the impact of cat depredation is negligible. The authors themselves say it’s CONSIDERABLE, and added, publicly, that cats are “WREAKING HAVOC on Australian wildlife.”

    Were we to wait until we knew absolutely EVERYTHING about this problem before acting to correct it, there would probably no reptiles left to save. I doubt that would concern you much. After all, they’re not “The Cat”.

    • “’Implications: This study provides a well grounded estimate of the numbers of reptiles killed by cats, but intensive studies of individual reptile species are required to contextualise the conservation consequences of such predation.’ – i.e. more studies are required.”

      Again, you emphasize the wrong part of the statement–what is required to determine the impact of invasive feline depredation on individual species is to undertake studies FOCUSED ON THOSE SPECIES. That is what the statement SAYS, and that is what it MEANS. In no way does this dismiss the WELL-GROUNDED estimate of 1.8 million reptiles removed DAILY from the gene pools of ONE-FOURTH of Australia’s described reptile species. Nor does it even suggest this is in any way “beneficial” or even of “insignificant impact” on those species.

      • I quoted what is at the top of the page of the published study! The conclusion! What more can I do. Really please don’t bother me more on this.

        contextualising predation of reptiles by cats

        • No, you have read the abstract. I have twice asked if you have read the entire study, and twice you have refused to answer. I have even intimated that what you have (and have not) said strongly suggests you in fact haven’t read the entire study. Your silence in that respect speaks volumes. If you haven’t read the entire study, the unavoidable conclusion is you are simply not competent to address said study’s actual findings in any meaningful way, and must therefore resort to “cat-hater conspiracy theories”.

          • I did not refuse to answer. I don’t have time to respond fully. I have not read the entire study but the abstract summarises it and is crystal clear. You refuse to address that. You continue to insult me:

            “you are simply not competent”

            Therefore you are banned. I warned you.

    • CAT PREDATION EXERTS A CONSIDERABLE ONGOING TOLL ON AUSTRALIAN REPTILES.

      Sure that is at the head of the study report but so is what I have quoted. I accept that feral cats prey on reptiles. Of course, because they are a prey item above that of birds and below rodents. However, the amount of damage done needs to be contextualised as I stated. We don’t even know if the population sizes of reptiles remain stable even under this predation by cats.

      And when there are big estimates you can’t make firm statements. I stand by what I have stated. The government wants to justify poisoning feral cats in their millions. Government paid scientists will try and satisfy their paymaster’s desires. They want scientists to find a reason and to convince the voting public that it is okay to slaughter millions of cats.

      This is hard to achieve because there are a lot of cat lovers and owners in Australia. They want the cats to be treated humanely. I am surprised that you don’t see the backstory on this; the political aspect is there for all to see. I have seen a lot of studies like this one. Another objective is to get the news media interested. They know that the news hounds will exaggerate the findings. All grist to the mill of convincing Australians that the government must kill millions of feral cats.

  2. Hey, dude–I’ve been on both sides of the auditorium in peer-review debates of scientific research. On what do you base your objections to this study? Do you have actual evidence refuting it?

    Woinarski’s study is based on 80 field studies which included stomach content analyses of tens of thousands of feral cats. What level of “confidence” do you require? Stomach content analysis of all 20 million or so free-roaming cats in Australia? I’d like that too, but it’s simply not humanly possible, just as it’s not humanly possible to sterilize or confine all those cats. What is your solution? Please don’t say it’s to let native Australian reptiles go extinct at the rate of 649 million a year. Photo below:

    https://media4.picsearch.com/is?M_0Z0f8l3CnzhKq3z-8xMVFVS9xIMGUQrVTTFZhvU8Q&height=341

    • It is surprising. I am only quoting the study itself. The conclusion was that they were unsure of the impact in terms of species survival etc. Hence the ‘context’ is important.

      In the meantime the press did their usual stupid stories and hyped it all up saying the cat is causing the extinction of reptile species! And the study recommended more studies in order to come to a firm conclusion. Read the study. There is a link to it at the base of the page.

      • I don’t have to pay as much for online access to MOST published research and therefore perhaps have greater access than the general public. Concerning Australian research, I have family, friends and colleagues there. I’ve read several of Woinarski’s studies. His methodology is viable, his analyses are sound. Aussie biologists tend to err in the direction of accumulating huge masses of data in their research, more so perhaps than some in other countries. That last is, admittedly, mere casual observation on my part.

        Loss’, Will’s and Marra’s three studies likewise reviewed a huge amount of quantified data, except they tended to err on the side of conservatism when analyzing the approximately 165 studies from which it was taken. They rejected results from the upper extreme of the avian death-toll “curve” in their samples.

        This in and of itself tends to generate confidence in their results–their data and it’s statistical interpretations are sound from what I can see, and it they don’t suggest “bias” or a particular “agenda”, their non-scientist critics claims notwithstanding. As I know Dr. Marra personally, and have reviewed his aforementioned work, I can say with confidence that he has not subjected himself to worldwide abuse because as an ornithologist he “hates cats”. As I recall he keeps two in his home.

        I read a fair number of research reports related to this matter and I have yet to see research from any biologist challenging Woinarski–or Loss, Will and Marra, for that matter. As for what the media makes of all this, there seem to be at least as many positive articles concerning outdoor cats as there are negative. I would argue, for example, that the vast majority of media outlets publish articles in favor of TNR. Very seldom do I see one opposing it. Again, I don’t have numbers–this is casual observation.

        Concerning the Australian “cat-cull”. All I can say is that it’s a good start. The situation there with respect to this highly destructive invasive species is very different than in North America or the UK. In the US, feral cats seem to engage in two “survival strategies”–the majority subsist off human handouts and remain in “colonies” around human dwellings. The higher densities of these colonies tend to promote disease (as in all dense populations, including our own), and the general low quality of food usually provided–dry cat food is seldom more than 34% protein, and seldom less than 18% ash–means they are frequently undernourished.

        I know whereof I speak because I worked for many years in fish rendering plants where most of the raw material–fish meal–which forms the primary ingredient in dry cat food is processed from trimmings garnered from fish processed into human seafood commodities. My wife has had to throw out several sets of clothes over the years–after a while the smell just won’t come out with washing, and–you can take my word on this–it’s highly unpleasant.

        To continue: therefore most stray and feral cats in America are in poor condition–they suffer from untreated injuries, exposure, malnutrition and disease. And they remain around human dwellings where they can be fed.

        The second feral cat survival strategy is what is seen in Australia, and occasionally in America as well. That is the truly “wild” feral. It doesn’t stay around a colony, except when it’s attracted to colony females in estrus. It is usually a solitary predator like its wild ancestors, and successful individuals of this type are usually larger and stronger than their colony counterparts. In 1973 a 50 lb. (22.7 kg.) feral cat was shot on a San Francisco Bay area hillside in California. I suspect among such cats this is not an exception, but the rule.

        The majority of feral cats in Australia are of this “type”, or perhaps more accurately, employ this type of survival strategy. These animals have lived and died without any human contact for many generations, for at least a century. And it shows. Interior Australia’s arid climate (similar to that to which cats’ ancestors were adapted), regular exercise and high-protein diet are producing some really huge specimens, as large as mid-sized dogs, and their populations are overwhelmingly in the arid interior where very few people live. I’m sure you have seen examples in the many photos taken of these animals. They’re big enough to bring down adult wallabies.

        Australian fauna evolved in isolation. There were no placental mammals except for small rodents and bats until Aboriginal Australians introduced the dingo. And even this caused the extinction of the Tasmanian devil throughout mainland Australia. They hung on in Tasmania because dingoes weren’t introduced there. Even introduced herbivores have proved catastrophic in Australia. From 25 European rabbits, untold millions swarmed over the landscape, eating the native vegetation down to the roots. Vast tracts of this country are now DEVOID of vegetation of any kind, and may be so forever. Because of the establishment of commensal rats and mice which came with European settlement, populations of the eastern brown snake–which is the second-most venomous snake in the world–have exploded in southeast Australia. It’s now possibly the most common snake in and around Sydney.

        Native Australian wildlife is utterly defenseless against what few can honestly deny is the most successful predator among (non-human) placental mammals. I hope it’s clear by now that I’m not “minimizing” the impact of other invasive species–all such have to be corrected to the degree humanly possible. Invasive hogs, rabbits, rodents, birds, toads, even buffalo have gravely damaged Australia’s unique ecosystems. But in terms of outright destruction of millions of irreplaceable native Australian animals, it’s clear that cats have had the worst such impact.

        This is why I said the cat-cull is (hopefully) a “good start”. But they can’t stop there, not if they’re serious about preserving what’s left of Australia’s native fauna. If Australian feral cat populations increase at the rate of those in the US and UK (and there’s no reason to suppose that they don’t), then if all that’s done over the next two years is the stated goal of culling 20% of their feral cats, the Aussies have more feral cats than when they started the cull. If Australia’s native wild animals are to survive, one thing that must happen is that unconfined cats in that country must become history–never to be repeated history.

        https://media4.picsearch.com/is?M_0Z0f8l3CnzhKq3z-8xMVFVS9xIMGUQrVTTFZhvU8Q&height=341

        • ” I would argue, for example, that the vast majority of media outlets publish articles in favor of TNR. Very seldom do I see one opposing it. Again, I don’t have numbers–this is casual observation.”

          In the US this applies. In Australia there are far more high profile articles supporting a cull of feral cats and far more negative publicity about the feral cat with no attempt to promote a humane solution. Scientists can get it wrong and are not infrequently biased. They have their own axe to grind. The study referred to is fine (although it is quite possibly politically motivated or funded) and it encourages caution in interpreting their findings. The Independent newspaper completely distorted the findings and said that reptiles were being made extinct by cats.

          I don’t have time to read all your comment but I am okay about publishing it. You appear to have provided your real name and a photo.

          You have your point of view and I have mine. I have defended the feral cat (put there by irresponsible Australians) against cruelty because all I hear from the Australian authorities is how to clear up their mess by being cruel to an animal that should not exist in Australia but for human behavior. Is it beyond the means of Australia to resolve this problem humanely? Are they that callous?

          • You admit you find no fault with the study but nonetheless speculate as to the “political” motives of its author and/or financiers? That sounds pretty biased to me, and suggests that the one with the “ax to grind” is you.

            That humans brought cats here is irrelevant to the current crisis. Those who released cats on this continent are long dead, and if all humans were removed from Australia tomorrow, their invasive felines would continue to destroy Australian reptiles at a rate of at least 8.5 million a day, 629 million a year–and climbing.

            As for “humane” means of addressing the problem, what would you suggest? Mass or targeted sterilization? Would that stop feral cats from destroying Australian reptiles? A proposal for a “humane” alternative must, at the very minimum, be shown to WORK.

            https://media4.picsearch.com/is?M_0Z0f8l3CnzhKq3z-8xMVFVS9xIMGUQrVTTFZhvU8Q&height=341

          • Considering that you “didn’t have time” to read my paltry comment, forgive me if I exhibit skepticism that you “had time” to read Woinarski’s report in its entirety. If not, this also calls into question not only lack of bias on your part, but your ability to discuss the report objectively. I say this not as insult, but as reasonable reaction to your own written admission–particularly in context of your arguments against Woinarski’s report.

            • You at least imply that Australian mass-media is “misinterpreting” Woinarski et al (Wildlife Research, 2018). Here’s are excerpts of what they’ve written publicly since the study’s release:

              “Such intensive predation probably puts severe pressure on local populations of some reptile species”…”There is now SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE THAT CATS ARE A PRIMARY CAUSE OF THE ONGOING DECLINE OF SOME THREATENED AUSTRALIAN REPTILE SPECIES, such as the great desert skink.” (Emphasis mine)

              “Our research provides YET MORE EVIDENCE OF THE HARM THAT CATS ARE WREAKING ON AUSTRALIA’S NATIVE WILDLIFE”… Last year, the same authors reported in the journal Biological Conservation that feral cats eat around 272 million birds a year in Australia.)

              “It underlines the need for more effective and strategic control of Australia’s feral cats, and for more responsible ownership of pet cats,” they wrote.

              OK, warm up those “denial engines” for “defending The Cat”, and look for whatever words you can find to try and minimize what the authors have said above. Here’s the link:

              https://www.livescience.com/62910-feral-cats-eating-reptiles-australia.html?linkId=53536309

              • Fine. The first point is that in my article I was simply repeating what the study said. The section that you have capitalised does not come direct from the study I referred to but was written by the authors on the theconversation.com website. These authors appear to be the same people who did the study but their names are not listed at the top or base of the article. Also at the base of the article they say: “The authors acknowledge the contribution of Russell Palmer, Glenn Edwards, Alex Nankivell, John Read and Dani Stokeld to this research.” Some of these names are not those of the scientists doing the study. What happened? Why go from ‘estimates’ etc. to certainties?

                In the article they have changed their language and dropped the word ‘estimate’ and used words creating certainty “Australia’s cats kill almost 650 million reptiles a year”. This should read “Australia’s cats kill an estimated approx. 650 million reptiles a year”. And the website’s motto is “Academic rigour, journalistic flair”. I am not sure.

                The authors are sending out a confusing message and the objectivity of the study’s abstract has been interpreted differently. This is not uncommon. And note the word ‘probably” – not conclusive. And I am not a denying that feral cat predation on reptiles is a problem. I am simply restating what the study concluded. So please don’t insult me like that. That’s the last time you’ll do it.

                I am not even defending the cat. I am defending the truth. All the studies on feral cats are estimates because Australian’s don’t know how many feral cats there are in Australia. And they always ignore the greater impact that humans have on native species compared to cats. It’s obviously incorrect and biased to do this. It is arrogance too.

                P.S. Danielle Stokeld is an ecologist with the Northern Territory Government Department of Environment and Natural Resources. She had an influence on the theconversation.com article. She works for the government and the government hate feral cats.

                Dr Barbara Hardy AO was Chair of the South Australian Landcare Committee. Alex Nankivell – Conservation Programs Manager works under her at naturefoundation.org.au. Another government connection. How objective are these influencers? The original study findings appear to have been deliberately restated in stronger terms to please government to get the authorities to start mass exterminations of feral cats.

                • So the official policy of the Australian government is to “hate cats”? Not once have I seen this announced by any spokesman for that government. And, once again, I didn’t “insult” you. I pointed out questionable aspects of your argument, and questioned your objectivity. If the shoe fits, wear it–even if it pinches a bit.

                  • PS: the reason I offered these quotes was because you argue that words like “probably” and “estimate” somehow devalue the study to the point where–you claim–it offered no conclusions concerning the effect of invasive cat depredation on Australian reptiles. I have offered examples both within the study and in additional public statements by the authors that clearly established their conclusions with respect to the egregious threat invasive felines pose to Australian reptiles. No matter how you nit-pick a word here an there, this doesn’t change the authors’ conclusion, which is based on rigorous accumulation of massive amounts of data.

                    Biologists, if they are honest, never hesitate to specify the limits of their study. Doing so INCREASES confidence in reasonable people, it doesn’t reduce it, or cause them to accuse them of ‘bias’, particularly when said accusations are predicated on absolutely NO credible evidence.

                    Again, all you do when you do this is spotlight your own bias, not theirs. And you need not take offense. This is not an “insult”. It is my honest assessment of your argument.

                    • No, I spotlight language because it is frequently used by news media to distort study findings. The language that you have picked up is distinctly different to that of the published study as explained. It is not nit picking. Under these circumstance language is vital. You don’t realise it but language is being used to mobilise the citizens of Australia to agree to the mass slaughter of cats. At the moment it is politically non-viable as there are millions of domestic cat owners in Australia. You insulted me beforehand and I stand by it. You’ll have to accept my thoughts on that and if you can’t go elsewhere.

                  • The general policy of the Aussie government is to try and find a way to kill millions of cats without it being politically unacceptable. They don’t state it but they hate free-roaming cats because they prey on native species. There actions reveal their attitude. Of course as stated they conveniently forget that humans are far more hazardous to native species than cats. Oh and…humans put the cats there in the first place. Not very moral is it?

                • And yet another inaccurate statement on your part: ” The news media headlines translate this to cats killing almost 2 MILLION lizards a day in Australia…”.

                  Sorry, the study ITSELF also says this: “The loss of ~1.8 MILLION native reptiles per day due to predation by cats provides further evidence of the potential conservation impact of this introduced predator on Australian biodiversity…”.

                  So the “rounding up” of 1.8 million to 2 million constitutes “misrepresentation” of the data–i.e. daily kill-count–to you? Again, the one who has CONSISTENTLY demonstrated their bias concerning this issue is none other than yourself, Sir. And if you find my pointing this out “insulting”, may I suggest you rephrase your arguments to be less biased.

                  • The conclusion of the study verbatim is:

                    Conclusions: Cat predation exerts a considerable ongoing toll on Australian reptiles. However, it remains challenging to interpret the impact of this predation in terms of population viability or conservation concern for Australian reptiles, because population size is unknown for most Australian reptile species, mortality rates due to cats will vary across reptile species and because there is likely to be marked variation among reptile species in their capability to sustain any particular predation rate.

                    Implications: This study provides a well grounded estimate of the numbers of reptiles killed by cats, but intensive studies of individual reptile species are required to contextualise the conservation consequences of such predation.”

                    This is very different to the language that you have quoted. Tell me where your quote was taken from. How can I be biased when I am quoting the bloody study!

                    • “The loss of ~1.8 MILLION native reptiles per day due to predation by cats provides further evidence of the potential conservation impact of this introduced predator on Australian biodiversity…”.

                      Sorry, the above statement is from the study itself. Perhaps if you’d taken the trouble to read it, you’d have realized that. Do you want me to tell you which page it’s on?

                    • If that is the case and I accept it the language is different to the conclusion at the head of the study which is far more circumspect.

                • Michael Broad on June 30, 2018 at 8:23 pm said:

                  “Fine. The first point is that in my article I was simply repeating what the study said.”

                  No, you selectively emphasized statements from the study which you felt supported your preconceived objections to said study, while ignoring those from the context of equal or greater importance which didn’t.

                  “The section that you have capitalised does not come direct from the study I referred to but was written by the authors on the theconversation.com website.”

                  Yes–indeed I said that. That’s why I posted the link to the article. I have nothing to hide.

                  “These authors appear to be the same people who did the study but their names are not listed at the top or base of the article.”

                  The article’s writer publicly attributes those statements to the authors of the research report in question. In the event she did so falsely, it’s likely we might expect to hear objections from its authors before long.

                  “Also at the base of the article they say: ‘The authors acknowledge the contribution of Russell Palmer, Glenn Edwards, Alex Nankivell, John Read and Dani Stokeld to this research.” Some of these names are not those of the scientists doing the study.
                  What happened? Why go from ‘estimates’ etc. to certainties?”

                  You’re really reaching now, Michael. Russell Palmer and John Read are herpetologists (I am unfamiliar with the other two)–it’s common practice to consult with colleagues and/or ask for assistance when publishing research, or popular articles based on research. My old teacher, Robert C. Stebbins, had a two-page list of contributions from colleagues–everything from providing specimens to correcting known ranges of species by offering recent sightings of same in the “Acknowledgements” section of his “Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians”. Such corrections were normally listed in the text under (“personal communication”). About a quarter of them were personal friends and field comrades of mine in their graduate student days. It’s doubtful the additional names belong to evil, cat-hating “conspirators” bent on agitating against “The Cat”.

                  I reread the article both at the “discussion” link and again in the “Live Science” page where it apparently was originally published. I did not see use of the word “certainty” anywhere. If you did, tell me where.

                  “In the article they have changed their language and dropped the word ‘estimate’ and used words creating certainty “Australia’s cats kill almost 650 million reptiles a year”.”

                  (Ahem)–649 million is “almost 650 million.” The adjective “almost” implies numerical inexactness–i.e., “estimate”, “close to the upper value”, etc.

                  “This should read “Australia’s cats kill an estimated approx. 650 million reptiles a year”. And the website’s motto is “Academic rigour, journalistic flair”. I am not sure.”

                  There was no significant textual difference between the two statements. That the writer didn’t choose to beat us over the head by repeatedly emphasizing “estimate”, “approximate” etc. to the degree you would have liked is of no logical consequence in terms of the statement’s accuracy. May I suggest you demonstrate your capacity to write a scientific report comparable to the academic rigor demonstrated in Woinarski, et al, and then complain to us.

                  “The authors are sending out a confusing message and the objectivity of the study’s abstract has been interpreted differently. This is not uncommon.”

                  Please describe the source and specify the nature of your confusion.

                  “And note the word ‘probably” – not conclusive. And I am not a denying that feral cat predation on reptiles is a problem. I am simply restating what the study concluded. So please don’t insult me like that. That’s the last time you’ll do it.”

                  Again, I haven’t insulted you. Pointing out holes in your arguments doesn’t constitute “insult”. But if it makes you feel insulted, I recommend arguing more carefully and accurately–a little less focus on emotion and a little more focus on facts.

                  “I am not even defending the cat. I am defending the truth. All the studies on feral cats are estimates because Australian’s don’t know how many feral cats there are in Australia.”

                  Nearly all scientific studies PERIOD are estimates. That researchers acknowledge this does not invalidate their studies. Quite the opposite.

                  Results are almost universally given in a RANGE of estimated values, from which a mean is derived, by the very nature of the data accumulated. By all means, enlighten the scientific community with whatever methodology you find to be more accurate. I for one would very much like to see it.

                  You will “defend” any “truth” except that which casts “The Cat” in an unfavorable light or advocate for their removal from the environment. This is by definition biased. It’s also not “truth”.

                  “And they always ignore the greater impact that humans have on native species compared to cats. It’s obviously incorrect and biased to do this. It is arrogance too.”

                  The reason your attempt at deflection doesn’t work here is that cats ARE a human impact on the environment and the native species which inhabit–and one of the WORST.

                  “P.S. Danielle Stokeld is an ecologist with the Northern Territory Government Department of Environment and Natural Resources. She had an influence on the theconversation.com article.”

                  What I don’t see here is any evidence that Dr. is a “cat-hater”. Merely being an ecologist, or working for the Australian government, doesn’t make her one.

                  “She works for the government and the government hate feral cats.”

                  A more illogical or unscientific statement I cannot imagine, except perhaps one which says “TNR works”. The Australian government is comprised of human beings. Do you claim they’re all cat-haters?

                  “Dr Barbara Hardy AO was Chair of the South Australian Landcare Committee. Alex Nankivell – Conservation Programs Manager works under her at naturefoundation.org.au. Another government connection. How objective are these influencers?”

                  AGAIN, you have stated no evidence that these people are cat-haters. They are conservationists and government workers. That you so readily characterize the Aussie government as such because it has–rightly–determined that feral cats must be removed from the Australian environment permanently to preserve a rapidly declining remnant of their native fauna demonstrates your OWN bias, NOT theirs. Their policy is predicated on substantial amounts of rigorous scientific research. You, on the other hand, have decided on the basis of absolutely NO research that the cat-cull is wrong.

                  “The original study findings appear to have been deliberately restated in stronger terms to please government to get the authorities to start mass exterminations of feral cats.”

                  It can’t happen soon enough.

                  • No, you selectively emphasized statements from the study which you felt supported your preconceived objections to said study, while ignoring those from the context of equal or greater importance which didn’t.

                    Wrong. I’ve quoted the conclusion. I will requote it here:

                    “Conclusions: Cat predation exerts a considerable ongoing toll on Australian reptiles. However, it remains challenging to interpret the impact of this predation in terms of population viability or conservation concern for Australian reptiles, because population size is unknown for most Australian reptile species, mortality rates due to cats will vary across reptile species and because there is likely to be marked variation among reptile species in their capability to sustain any particular predation rate.” – i.e. they don’t know the impact in terms of conservation and pop. viability. This is what I am saying.

                    “Implications: This study provides a well grounded estimate of the numbers of reptiles killed by cats, but intensive studies of individual reptile species are required to contextualise the conservation consequences of such predation.” – i.e. more studies are required.

                    How can you say I am being selective? It is impossible to state that. Whose ‘reaching’? I completely stand by what I have said. I am not reaching to support my argument. I am looking for balance and to counter the desire to find a justification to kill en masse feral cats. I stand by that.

                    I don’t claim all government employees are cat haters. I claim that the government wants to justify killing cats and they hate native species being killed by cats so they hate the presence of feral cats.

                    TNR does work when carried out properly.

                    I have not got time to read your entire comment or respond to it but out of decency I have published it.

                    A follow up article is along similar lines:

                    https://pictures-of-cats.org/work-to-be-done-on-legitimising-feral-cat-culls.html

    • Don’t waste your breath arguing with a T. gondii brain-hijacked cat-licker or trying to get them to finally see the reality of their earth-destroying ways. Just destroy every last stray cat of theirs that you see. It’s what we do in the USA. And there’s not one damn thing that they can do about it. 🙂

  3. The reason TNR doesn’t work is the same reason…..

    Your comment has been removed and saved offline. It will be published if and when you (1) disclose your real name and (2) you upload a photo of yourself. You will then comply with PoC troll rules. You are a troll. I deem all those who encourage and propose cat cruelty and killings (against the law) to be trolls. And your name is fake — Admin.

  4. The demise of reptiles is almost entirely due to the pollution caused by humans. In all of it’s forms. From encroachment to pesticides.
    The other data left out is how is the population of reptiles adapting and their numbers.
    I have my little porch lizards and I leave them be but I’m not all that upset when they are preyed upon because unchecked they go from cute to nuisance.
    Almost without fail they are dog centric. As the local one told me if a cat ‘acts’ feral they will destroy it. The keyword here is acts and the decision is subjective.
    They foster an attitude in the population of non compliance because they do not enforce the statues on the books. Complain about the neighbors dogs and you reach a deaf ear.
    Astray dogs are seldom if ever picked up. Loose dogs kill small livestock , chase livestock and kill cats in their own yards. Enforcement is usually per the property owner who finally gets fed up and uses the state statute that allows you to dispose of dogs who are a menace. Cat haters see this and the wording as an excuse and an out to act on their cat hate and fire at will.

    • Do you even comprehend what the word “extinct” even means? It means that a species that fought through all the forces of nature, for millions of years to survive, and became the very best that nature could create; was wiped-out FOREVER by the ignorant and misguided actions and values of humans. Wiped-out by those who promote the existence of their man-made cats.

      Why you and everyone like you hasn’t faced a firing-squad yet to be punished for your crimes against all of nature and all of humanity is beyond me.

    • If lizards become “nuisances”? How so? There are two species of lizards living in my daughter’s and her family’s yard. The first is the southern Alligator lizard (Eglaria multicarinata). It eats black widow spiders. The second is the western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis), which has a protein in its blood which neutralizes Lyme’s disease in any infected tick which feeds on it. And it also eats the ticks themselves. Please explain how this a “nuisance”.

      It therefore should make sense even to you that I will not tolerate the neighbors cats harming ANY lizard in my daughter’s yard, to say nothing of their contaminating my grandchildren’s play areas with their feces.

      I had taken time-off from “disappearing” cats to tend to other important matters for the last several weeks, as any responsible person has to do from time-to-time. But my four year-old granddaughter found a dried cat turd while playing in the backyard just last night. That ends today–no more time-off.

      • I had taken time-off from “disappearing” cats to tend to other important matters for the last several weeks, as any responsible person has to do from time-to-time

        Mr Lizard of Auz with the slippery character, you appear to be saying that you kill cats. I demand that you openly admit it, if I am correct. And at the same time disclose your real name and add a photo of yourself. The fact that you hide by an alias indicates a lack of confidence in what you do and a lack of integrity.

        If it was law that all commenters had to disclose there real name and provide a photo (to replicate what happens on the ground in conversation) you’d disappear under a rock like a lizard 🙂

        • I have already given you my real name and posted a photograph of myself on your blog. As of last week they were still there (I checked). Your laziness is not my problem.

          And yes, I’m a third-generation cat-killer, and proud of it.

          • Use your real name every time and let’s see your face. As a cat killer you are a criminal. I won’t host comments by a criminal unless you disclose your real name all the time.

    • The absurdities in MEK’s post beg for further refutation:

      “The demise of reptiles is almost entirely due to the pollution caused by humans. In all of it’s forms. From encroachment to pesticides.”

      Actually, in terms of chemical pollution, reptiles rank among the more resistant to same because their skin is essentially water-impermeable (more so than most other vertebrates), which is the primary route whereby most toxins contaminate living tissue. This is not to say they are unaffected by chemical pollution, but that many reptile species continue to hang on even in highly degraded habitat long after more vulnerable species like fishes, amphibians, mammals and many birds have drastically declined or are gone. At least until the unconfined cat populations explode.

      Lizards, even large ones, are particularly vulnerable to cat depredation. Cats have wiped out entire populations of rhinoceros iguanas in the British West Indies, and these very robust lizards grow up to five feet long. But when the cats are eradicated and the iguanas re-introduced from neighboring (cat-less) islets, they quickly thrive. Ipso facto, the CATS were the problem.

      “The other data left out is how is the population of reptiles adapting and their numbers.”

      Really? How would you design such a study? Where is YOUR data proving that feral cats are not the primary cause of native Australian wildlife’s precipitous decline? Indeed, where is peer your-reviewed scientific research refuting Woinarski et al?

      You have to actually do a study before you can arrive at a “conclusion”. Otherwise all you have is wishful thinking and/or circular reasoning: “I love cats, therefore they couldn’t possibly be responsible for native wildlife extinctions.”

      I have, with the help of colleagues, tallied a list of 34 bird, 10 rodent, 5 marsupial, 5 lizard and one Lagomorph (rabbit-relative) extinctions which says your “conclusion” is utter nonsense. And it’s only a partial list (a work-in-progress).

      “I have my little porch lizards and I leave them be but I’m not all that upset when they are preyed upon because unchecked they go from cute to nuisance.”

      But if I regard your pestiferous CATS a nuisance because they destroy wildlife and spread disease, I’m some kind of monster?

      “Almost without fail they are dog centric.”

      This is yet another manifestation of the simplistic mindset of feral cat extremists: “You hate cats because you love birds. You hate cats because you love dogs.” This suggest you watch too many old cartoons. Sorry, I am neither a bird or dog aficionado. I have owned exactly ONE dog in my life–it died of old age in the 1980’s and I never got another. And I am a fisheries biologist who happens to be quite fond of reptiles and amphibians as well.

      Nor do I hate cats. I “rescued” my last cat as a tiny kitten from the ruins on an abandoned house on Popov Island, AK. It was November, 2004. Had I not done so, he would never have survived the winter. He lived in my house for 12 years, until he succumbed to cancer in October 2016. I held him in my arms when he was euthanized, and he did what he always did to feel secure–hid his face in the crook of my right arm. I cried until my beard was wet. I’m a cat-hater, right?

      “As the local one told me if a cat ‘acts’ feral they will destroy it. The keyword here is acts and the decision is subjective.”

      Here’s how I take the “subjectivity” out of it: “If it’s unconfined outdoors other than on its owners’ property, I destroy it.” One the one hand your take on this subject is childishly simplistic, on the other you make it needlessly complicated.

      “They foster an attitude in the population of non compliance because they do not enforce the statues on the books. Complain about the neighbors dogs and you reach a deaf ear.”

      Actually, what I did when I lived next door to a family with two very noisy dogs in Alaska was to mount a small, but very powerful speaker in a window facing their house and bombard them with music by Rob Zombie, Mastodon, Powerman 5000 and other delightful heavy-metal selections at very high volume. At 3 AM. The neighbors quickly got the message and kept their dogs quiet.

      But I’m surprised you would complain because animal control ordinances aren’t enforced. TNR is illegal in my home state. But there are nonetheless illegal TNR colonies. Cat “rescue” extremists have always acted as if they were above the law. Even states like New York and Florida, where there are laws on the books PROHIBITING unconfined felines, or even feeding animals, are swarming with feral cats and their diseases. When things get bad enough thanks to the irresponsible and destructive behavior of outdoor cat-hoarders, I predict you’ll get your wish–you’ll see these laws not only enforced, but given “teeth”.

      “Astray dogs are seldom if ever picked up. Loose dogs kill small livestock , chase livestock and kill cats in their own yards.”

      Maybe on your planet, but ordinances against stray dogs are FAR more vigorously enforced than are those against stray cats on mine, and always have been. That’s why for the last three decades, cats have surpassed dogs as the worst domesticated rabies-vector. Stray dogs were put down rather than re-classified as “community dogs”, as cats have been.

      “Enforcement is usually per the property owner who finally gets fed up and uses the state statute that allows you to dispose of dogs who are a menace. Cat haters see this and the wording as an excuse and an out to act on their cat hate and fire at will.”

      Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to explain why such laws should apply dogs, but not to cats. In many places, like in Alaska, they apply to both. The only requirement (again, with respect to both) is that you make a “reasonable” effort to contact the owner of a problem animal before shooting it. And I can quote AK state Administrative Code and Anchorage Municipal Ordinance which spell this out.

      • “Here’s how I take the “subjectivity” out of it: “If it’s unconfined outdoors other than on its owners’ property, I destroy it.””

        I have not followed this thread but are suggesting that you kill all unconfined domestic and feral cats? If you are it is an admission to criminal behavior whether the law is enforced or not.

        “Cat “rescue” extremists..”

        This statement of yours indicates a strong disliking of people concerned with the welfare of feral cats because humans put them there. If you dislike these people you also dislike feral cats. You are the classic cat hater it appears. You like doing battle with people who want to behave decently towards animals including cats. If you want to do battle with someone do it against humanity for creating a world that is hostile to many species. Take for example butterflies in the UK. They are being dramatically reduced in population size by farming chemicals as are the bees. There must many similar examples in the US and even Alaska.

        “TNR is illegal in my home state.”

        This seems not to be due to a specific law referring to TNR but an old law:

        “TNR is illegal in Alaska, thanks to an antiquated rule in the Alaska Administrative Code: “The following species…may not be released into the wild.” Dogs and cats are the first animals on the list.” (Encylopedia Brittanica).

        It sounds like you are in Alaska and you are the Alaskan Arab in other posts. Is that correct? Please disclose your real name. I am tired of dealing with argumentative visitors hiding behind pseudonyms and aliases. It is wrong and cowardly.

        “Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to explain why such laws should apply dogs, but not to cats.”

        If you are referring to laws against stray dogs being enforced, the obvious reason is because stray dogs are more dangerous that cats to people, livestock and pets. This is because they are much larger and stronger. You will deny they are more dangerous because of rabies etc.. but the law makers – the people who represent all Americans – disagree with you and therefore you are out on a limb on that argument.

        • “Please disclose your real name.”

          He already has, several times on your site but you enjoy banning people that prove you 100% wrong. Your loss. Keep shooting yourself in your own foot.

        • PS: the reason I stopped using my real name is because you BANNED it.

          PPS: TNR was specifically outlawed by the Alaska Board of Game during their session to consider region-wide regulatory changes on 11/10-17/17. I was there. I and a retired state wildlife biologist successfully convinced the Board of Game to unanimously vote against legalization of TNR per proposed regulatory change no. 62. submitted by a group of feral cat extremists backed by Alley Cat Allies. Our counter-proposal, no. 63, asked that TNR remain illegal. We won. They lost. How do I know? I was there.

          “Google” the Anchorage Daily News on 11/17/17 and you’ll see a published account written the day of the decision.

          • “Our counter-proposal, no. 63, asked that TNR remain illegal. We won.”

            The key phrase is ‘remain illegal’. It is original illegal because of an archaic law unassociated with TNR. You will revert to your real name. No excuses. Failure = non-publication.

            • Tell you what: you publish a photo of your cat humping your arm, and I’ll post a link to an Anchorage Daily News article which includes both my photograph and real name. Fair?

              • I make the f**** rules on my website. This is the last comment you make without complying with my request for real name and photo of yourself.

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