The feral cat is regarded by a section of humankind as a particularly destructive invasive species on the continents of North America and Australia. These are the two places where the war on feral cats predominantly takes place.
No animal is more vilified than the feral cat on these continents. Australia’s administrators are completely myopic, however. They conveniently forget that they are descended from European settlers who are the world’s greatest invasive species. It is they who brought to Australia cats, rabbits and foxes. The three animals that are probably the most destructive of native species in Australia. Rabbits head the list apparently. Foxes were introduced into Australia for sporting purposes in 1855 with most releases being around Melbourne.
The domestic cat was brought to Australia with the early European settlers. They were allowed to roam freely and were abandoned; the feral cat evolved and now there are an estimated 2.1-6.3 million on the continent. The descendants of the people who created the head-banging ‘feral cat problem’ in Australia now scratch their heads, and have done so for a very long time, trying to figure out a way to eradicate them. Yes, they want to completely kill them off in any way possible. The latest ruse is to bio-engineer them so that they die out.
They’ve suggested various methods of genetic biocontrol. The ones available are: sterile-release, YY Males, Trojan Female Technique, and gene drive. The ‘Trojan female technique’ is one where females pass on genes that make male offspring infertile. Ultimately it will lead to the extinction of feral cats. How long will it take? Could it be done? Would it be effective? Would it affect free-roaming domestic cats?
It’s never been tried on such a large number of animals as far as I know. And Australia is only slightly smaller than America. They are looking at a huge area. And Australians don’t know how many feral cats there are and therefore they estimate their impact on native species. They refer to statistics as if they are hard fact but they are estimates. They might be wrong.
Another suggested method to control Australia’s invasive species (other than people) is to introduce genes that make a pest more susceptible to disease. That sounds dangerous to me. I would think that a lot of people consider meddling with genetics – people playing God – as having unforeseen consequences which would be detrimental to nature and to humans themselves at the end of the day.
Humans referring to feral cats, rabbits and foxes as invasive species pests, is the pot calling the kettle black. The most invasive species in Australia are the Australians themselves who I’m told slaughter over 4.9 billion animals annually for food including millions of kangaroos and sea turtles. The shoot kangaroos at night in the hundreds of thousands. It is kangaroo Armageddon. They chuck poisoned sausages laced with 1080, a poison that is widely regarded as causing an extremely painful death from helicopters to kill cats (and other animals?). Aussies have become barbaric in their zealous mission to kill ‘invasive species’.
And Australia’s biggest invasive species, the human, digs up coal in the billions of tons and sells it to China (when they can) thereby fuelling climate change because China refuses to phase out their coal-fired power stations and thereby are the world’s biggest contributors to global warming other than America. It’s interesting that: the two worst countries in terms of emitting carbon dioxide causing global warming are China and America. The two countries where they consistently moan about feral cats. Passing the buck, I call that. Pulling the wool over their own eyes. Climate change is the world’s biggest threat to all life on the planet and it is killing native species. Remember the devastating forest fires of Australia which killed billions of native species?
It’s worth reminding ourselves of just two examples of how European settlers impacted nature in America. They almost caused the extinction of the Buffalo due to negligent hunting practices. They also caused the total extinction of the passenger pigeon as they were perceived as a threat to agriculture and as Europeans migrated across North America they thinned out and eliminated the large forests that the pigeon depended upon. They completely extinguished them from the planet by 1914! The disease of humankind spreading across North America. European settlers; the world’s greatest invasive species.
Picture of feral cat with rat in mouth used as example of ‘US national parks overrun by invasive species’